Cristina Odone argues that Benedict is being made into "the perfect scapegoat":
This Pope has done more than any other churchman to address the issue of priestly child abuse. He has stopped the practice of turning over priests accused of abuse to therapists, as we now know that therapy seldom helps a paedophile. He has fast-tracked the defrocking of priests found guilty of abuse. He has promoted co-operation, at a diocesan level, between church authorities responsible for canon law and police. He can point to some real success in the protection of children: in England and Wales, for instance, child protection officers monitor every encounter between children and clergy. The result, is that, ironically, there is no safer place for a child today to be than with a Catholic priest.
But whom has he held actually accountable for child abuse and its cover-up? That's the test here. John Allen addresses several "misconstrued, or at least sloppily characterized," aspects of Benedict's role:
[H]ere's the key point about Ratzinger's 2001 letter: Far from being seen as part of the problem, at the time it was widely hailed as a watershed moment towards a solution. It marked recognition in Rome, really for the first time, of how serious the problem of sex abuse really is, and it committed the Vatican to getting directly involved. [...] Beginning in 2001, Ratzinger was forced to review all the files on every priest credibly accused of sexual abuse anywhere in the world, giving him a sense of the contours of the problem that virtually no one else in the Catholic church can claim.
Allen's paper, the National Catholic Reporter, calls for a "full, personal and public accounting" from the pontiff.
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