Nowhere in the letter did Benedict address the responsibility of the Vatican itself. Many victims’ groups have criticized the Vatican for not recognizing the depth and scope of the abuse crisis sooner. Nor did he use the term punishment, or spell out any consequences for clergy or bishops who had not upheld canon or civil law. Indeed, he laid blame firmly with Irish Catholic leaders.
As the crisis deepened, the Vatican condemned what it called an aggressive campaign against the pope in Germany.