With a growing sex abuse scandal engulfing the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI struck a note of defiance on Sunday by saying the church will not be "intimidated" by its critics. Protesters in Europe and elsewhere have continued to call for the Pope to resign, saying he helped cover up abuse years ago as Archbishop of Munich and later as head of doctrine at the Vatican (read The Week's timeline of the scandal here). Are protesters just exploiting the new revelations to bash Catholicism or making a valid point about the Pope's inability to lead? (Watch the Pope respond to "intimidation")

The Pope must go: Benedict should have "opened the secret church books on priestly abuse" years ago, says Margery Eagan in the Boston Herald. But instead he participated in a shameful cover-up. "The Pope should resign," offering himself up for prosecution "like the sacrificial lamb he’s supposed to represent here on earth."
"Why Pope Benedict’s got to go!"

Stop the Catholic-bashing: Pope Benedict XVI was slow to respond to the crisis, says Rory Leishman in the London Free Press, but he's committed to fighting the "evils of clerical sexual abuse" now, as his recent apology to victims in Ireland demonstrated. The Pope's "shrillest critics" are just "exploiting the occasion to serve up the vilest anti-Catholic prejudice and abuse."
"Pope Benedict deserves more for his apology"

Maybe it's time for a female Pope: The Vatican's "completely paternalistic and autocratic culture" made the church "a corrosive shelter for secrets and shame," says Maureen Dowd in The New York Times. Perhaps the Catholic Church should "throw open its stained glass windows and let in some air," by clearing the way to name a woman as the next pope. "The nuns have historically cleaned up the messes of priests. And this is a historic mess."
"A Nope for Pope"



Pope's apology: Too little, too late?
Time to let priests have sex?