Pope 'dismal' when it comes to tackling sex abuse
Pope Benedict did nothing to punish paedophile priests or church seniors who looked the other way, according to US and Irish victims hoping his successor will focus on fighting sex abuse.
Barbara Blaine, founder and president of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, called the outgoing pope's record "dismal".
"He has made lofty statements. He has not matched those statements with deed or action. Under his reign, the children remained at risk," Blaine said.
The US Conference of Catholic Bishops says that since 1950, more than 6,100 priests have been accused of paedophilia. About 16,000 victims have been identified, and US$2.5 billion has been spent on damages or rehabilitation therapy.
"This is not a US problem, this is a global problem," Blaine said.
"Even now in these next two weeks, he could take simple measures that would have a wide-ranging positive impact to protect children and our church across the globe." The pope could publish the names of predatory priests on the internet, as 30 American bishops had done, or order bishops to report all cases of sexual abuse to the police.
"I'm very happy that the pope is resigning because he really did not do very much about clergy sexual abuse," said Robert Hoatson, president of victims aid group Road To Recovery.