UNDATED (CNN) -- Pope Benedict XVI led the Church during one of the most difficult times in its history. Some believe he did a good job trying to lift the secret veil of the priest sex abuse scandal, others say he failed miserably.
"Offer the little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me," Jesus said; words perverted by hundreds of pedophile priests. High level cases of child abuse have rocked the church in the Americas, Europe, and elsewhere, and have dogged Pope Benedict from the beginning of his reign.
Just weeks before he was elected pope in 2005, then Cardinal Joseph RAtzinger publicly lamented what he called the filth within the church. The meaning of his words were unclear then, but now better understood. Vatican analyst Gerard O'Connell says, "He had to counteract a mindset, a culture, which was deep-seated, a culture of cover-up."
Veteran Vatican watcher Gerard O'Connell says Benedict was deeply disturbed by what he found when investigating abuse of children by priests. Investigative journalist Carmelo Abbate says, "So by the time he became Pope in April 19 2005, he had read about ten thousand dossiers, so no one has become Pope with such an inner knowledge of what he called the filth in the Church.
Benedict has met victims and apologized on behalf of the church; the church has paid hundreds of millions in damages to abuse victims.
In books and articles, investigative journalist Carmelo Abbate has documented the weaknesses of priestly flesh. He has investigated sex in the Vatican and pedophilia in the priesthood. He has nothing but praise for the soon to be former Pope Benedict. Abbate says, "Finally we are talking about sexuality inside the church," he says, "...about pedophilia inside the church, and behind the pope's final gesture is an attempt to lift the lid and confront this problem."
The picture that seems to emerge is one of a pope struggling to confront the issue of pedophile priests. But it's a picture some victims of abuse flatly reject.
As a teenager growing up in Missouri, David Clohessy was repeatedly abused by a priest. He says, "I just can't imagine that there's anything more important than protecting the safety of boys and girls in abuse."
The founder of the survivor's network for those abused by priests, he says Pope Benedict has been a tough enforcer of church doctrine, but woefully short in action against problem priests and against the church hierarchy who protected them. He says, "He's the most powerful religious figure on the planet, and no one in Catholicism knows more about pedophilia than Benedict. He's been in the absolute perfect position to take dramatic steps that will make a real difference in the lives of children, and he refuses."
The priest who allegedly abused Clohessy has since resigned his ordination. The pope compelled to confront the issue of abusing priests resigns his office on Thursday.