The Vatican has attacked the media over charges that the Pope failed to act against a US priest accused of abusing up to 200 deaf boys two decades ago.
Allegations have emerged in the United States that in the 1990s, long before he became pope, he failed to respond to letters from an American archbishop about the priest, Fr Lawrence Murphy.
One victim, Arthur Budzinski, told the BBC the Pope had known of a cover-up "for many years" and said Pope Benedict should confess about what he knew.
A Vatican newspaper editorial said the claims were an "ignoble" attack on the Pope and that there was no "cover-up".
The head of the UK Catholic church said the Pope had made important changes to the way abuse was dealt with.