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(NECN: Greg Wayland) - He won praise for his expressions of remorse over clergy sex abuse. But now Pope Benedict XVI is face to face with the scandal that left lasting wounds on the Catholic Church.
New reports are suggesting he failed to stop abuse here and in Europe.
He is the Pope who once headed up a key Vatican office reviewing sex abuse files, prosecuting abusers, and apologizing to victims.
Pope Benedict XVI: "We will absolutely exclude pedophiles from sacred ministry."
But now, worldwide, the sex abuse crisis has re-ignited over old, but disturbing cases in Ireland, Germany and in the U.S., where the New York Times is reporting that a Wisconsin priest allegedly abused 200 deaf boys over decades.
The allegation is that the pope, as Cardinal Josef Ratzinger, failed to act --
Church defenders are protesting.
Bill Donahue/Catholic League of Religious and Civil Rights: "He is head of the largest church in the world. He could not possibly know about every case of abuse."
But the Times is reporting that, as Archbishop of Munich, Germany, Ratzinger signed a memo allowing a pedophile priest to begin therapy, then quickly return to active ministry, and more abuse.
The Vatican has said the decision was made by a subordinate.
Phil Saviano/Clergy sex abuse survivor: "He should have followed up. It's the natural thing to do."
Boston resident Phil Saviano is among the founders of the survivors network of those abused by priests.
Phil Saviano: You can say that maybe the pope never read the memo. Didn't get that final message. But considering the fact that they were talking about a priest who had a history of molesting a bunch of kids and that he was the head of the committee that had discussed that issue, wouldn't you think that he would have asked his subordinates, what ever happened to this guy?
Gary Bergeron/Clergy abuse survivor: It seems that the catholic church is going back into their duck-and-cover position, which was, he offers an apology, which he did in Ireland, and it's a statement. My question is, what's next?
Massachusetts clergy sex abuse victim-survivor Gary Bergeron wrote a book on the issue. He has a message for the pope.
Gary Bergeron: He has an opportunity to engage long-term dialogue. How can we not only prevent what has happened, but how can we help these people walk forward, and maybe some kind of reconciliation with life, let along with the Catholic Church.