ROME (AP) — The U.S. cardinal who leads the Vatican office overseeing cases of sexual abuse by clergy says Pope Benedict XVI should be thanked, not attacked, for his handling of the problem.
Cardinal William Levada vigorously defended Benedict in a speech to a Vatican-backed symposium in Rome aimed at showing church leaders how to help sex abuse victims and protect children. Before becoming pontiff, Benedict held Levada's job, and the cardinal thanked him for supporting binding rules so U.S. bishops could crack down on abuse.
But advocates for abuse victims derided the four-day symposium that began Monday, however, calling it "window dressing." The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests is demanding that the Vatican make public its secret files on abuse cases.