Ratzinger’s record . . . has been distorted by critics. When he commented in 1990 that the standards of the world can’t always be applied to the life of the church – a claim that has to be true for any religious grouping – he wasn’t talking about how to handle allegations of sex abuse. He was telling theologians not to follow the polls.
Responsibility for dealing with the sex-abuse cases was centralized in Ratzinger’s office in 2001, and most observers say that the church’s record since that time has been much better than it had been before – and that it continued to improve once Ratzinger became Benedict. . . .