Pope Emeritus Benedict’s death
The priest sex-abuse scandal was the albatross around the neck of Pope Emeritus Benedict’s brief eight-year reign as leader of the Roman Catholic Church, according to Vatican analysts.
Long-suppressed allegations that priests had been preying on children — and that the bishops covered up the crimes — were already roiling the church when Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected pope in April 2005 and took Benedict as his papal name.
Like his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, Benedict also apologized to the victims and then took some steps to punish the predators.
“I have had great responsibilities in the Catholic Church. All the greater is my pain for the abuses and the errors that occurred in those different places during the time of my mandate,” he said in February.
But critics say that the actions Benedict took, which included meeting with and apologizing directly to some victims, were “too little, too late” and that his legacy may forever be stained by the failure to fully address a plague that many say roils the church to this day.
They say Benedict should have known better, because, before he became pope, he ran, for 24 year, the Vatican department that dealt directly with priest sex abuse allegations — the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).
“He had an inside view of what was going on,” said David Gibson, the director of the Center on Religion and Culture at Fordham University, who is the author of “The Rule of Benedict: Pope Benedict XVI and His Battle with the Modern World.” “His office dealt with these accusations. He knew how bad it was. But he had such a high view of the priesthood, and that affected his judgment.”