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Pope Benedict's record: steadily tougher in confronting abuse

March 18, 2010

In a thorough and even-handed account, John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter writes that during his tenure as Archbishop of Munich and his early days as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger seemed unaware of the extent of sexual abuse by Catholic priests. But his attitude changed considerably when the CDF was given responsibility for the discipline of priests accused of such gross misconduct, and the future Pontiff saw the cascade of abuse cases reported to his office-- mostly from the United States. While it may be possible to criticize his earlier record, Allen writes, as Roman Pontiff Benedict XVI has consistently shown his determination to cleanse the Church of abuse.


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