LOS ANGELES —
Given the progressive decline in his health, however, it is widely presumed that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger — the future Pope Benedict XVI — was the architect of those measures in his role as head of the Vatican department that handled petitions to defrock abusive clergy.
Earlier this year, the Vatican’s new sex crimes prosecutor, quoting Benedict, said the church must recognize the “grave errors in judgment that were often committed by the church’s leadership.” He added that bishops must report abusive priests to police where the law requires it. The comments came days after the release of the Los Angeles confidential files.
Now, with a new pope, victims in the U.S. hope more change is coming.
“If it’s not this pope who will do it, maybe it will be another one,” said Molly Harding, of Spokane, Wash., who waited 40 years to come forward about her abuse at a San Gabriel, Calif., school.
Associated Press writers contributing to this report include Nicole Winfield in Rome; Mike Warren in Buenos Aires; Donna Blankinship in Seattle; Matt Volz in Helena, Mont.; Jay Lindsay in Boston; Dinesh Ramde in Milwaukee, Wis.; and AP photographer Damian Dovarganes in Los Angeles.