There are more accusations that Vatican officials, including the Pope himself, did not deal adequately with sex abuse cases involving priests.
The allegations concern an American priest who worked at a school for deaf children in Wisconsin from 1950 to 1974.
The New York Times says the Reverend Lawrence C. Murphy molested up to two hundred boys but was not defrocked despite warnings from American bishops.
In a letter to the paper, the Vatican describes the case as “tragic” but adds that it was not aware of it until 1996, years after the authorities had investigated and dropped the case.
Demonstrators displayed pictures of the abused children outside the Vatican. Pope Benedict, as the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, ran the office that investigated abuse cases. The New York Times says the Vatican’s failure to act suggests its highest priority was protecting the Church from scandal.
This week the Pope accepted the resignation of an Irish bishop found to have mishandled allegations of clerical sex abuse.
Bishop John Magee stepped aside a year ago after an independent report found his Cloyne Diocese had put children at risk of harm.