BBC2 Newsnight last night ran a thorough report (23:15-37:59) on how serious sex abuse allegations "ran aground in the Holy See". The question Peter Marshall (photo) posed -- "Was Benedict XVI part of the solution or part of the problem?" -- was examined by looking at two notorious high-level clerical abusers: Cardinal Groer of Vienna and Marcial Maciel, head of the Legionaries of Christ.
Two figures do not come out well: Cardinal Angelo Sodano, secretary of state -- effectively, the head of the Curia -- under Pope John Paul II, stands accused of blocking attempts to act against the two abusers; and Pope John Paul II, who was portrayed as being in denial.
The current Cardinal Archishop of Vienna, Christoph Schonborn, says Cardinal Ratzinger's attempts to deal with them were thwarted by Sodano, and the evidence in favour of this reading seemed compelling from the others Marshall interviews.
Moving against Maciel, of course, was one of the first acts of Pope Benedict after his election.
The answer seems to be: "part of the solution".