That criticism heated up this weekend as the Vatican faces a new set of allegations. American Cardinal William Levada is now under fire for restoring an accused priest to duty without warning parishioners.
There is also new evidence claiming pope Benedict waited years to de-frock an Arizona priest accused of abuse when he was a cardinal.
A spokesman for the Vatican says it is taking steps to restore confidence in the church.
"The church cannot ask to be recognized as a moral authority if really these terrible things happen frequently."
The Vatican also says the account of the Arizona case is misleading and that the church followed proper procedures and did eventually remove the priest.