Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger was conscripted in 1941 into the Hitler youth. After the war he entered the seminaries with his brother and was ordained in 1951. After an academic career he was appointed by Paul VI archbishop of Munich and Freising in 1977. In 1981 he became prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith, the most important institution in the roman curia. This office was formerly known as the sacred congregation of the holy office, the historical inquisition.
One of the roles of the prefect of that powerful organisation includes enforcing the crimen sollicitationis (http://www.vatican.va/resources/resources_crimen-sollicitationis-1962_en.html). This very secret document drafted in 1962 is a written directive for the total control of case by the church and therefore a simple way for covering up the abuse. The silence was imposed on the poor victims; often by fear while the perpetrators were discreetly removed and could live a good life in all impunity. In 2001, cardinal Ratzinger issued an edict, another secret document to reinforce the iron fist of the church on the sex abuse cases and instruct the bishop to put the Church's interests ahead of the child welfare and safety (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2005/apr/24/children.childprotection)
When this document came to light in 2006 the BBC panorama program investigated and demonstrated without any doubt in a special documentary (01/10/2006 Sex, crimes and the Vatican) the systematic cover up and the involvement of members of the highest level of the holy see.(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06qhnIwEdHE&feature=related),(http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/panorama/5392338.stm).
Sometime ago the Associate Press obtain a correspondences lasting several years between the diocese of Oakland and the Vatican regarding the proposed defrocking of a predatory paedophile priest with the name of Stephen Kiesle (http://www.bishopaccountability.org/assign/Kiesle_Stephen.htm). Amongst the documents, they found a letter typed in Latin bearing the signature of Joseph Ratzinger who was not enthusiastic (to say the least) by the idea of removing the priest. He was asking for a careful review while providing "as much paternal care as possible", considering "the good of the universal church" more important than any of the poor victims(http://documents.nytimes.com/the-document-trail-stephen-kiesle).
In the mostly infamous case of father Lawrence Murphy who abused 200 deaf children during a period of 25 years in Wisconsin, USA (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_abuse_scandal_in_Catholic_archdiocese_of_Milwaukee#Lawrence_Murphy_case) Joseph Ratzinger stopped a canonical trial authorised by his deputy. The perverted priest asked in a letter to the future pope to let him live the rest of his life in the "dignity of his priesthood". He died a free man 2 years later. (http://www.bishop-accountability.org/NY_Times_Documents.pdf).
The German newspaper Sueddeushe Zeitung reported that Joseph Ratzinger, while still archbishop of Munich and Freising, gave safe heaven in his diocese to a priest known only as H who was accused of the rape of an 11 years old. The "therapy" did not work and the vicious priest abused other children. He will be later condemned with a very light sentence(http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/8565294.stm).
It is clear that despite claims by the catholic establishment and catholic apologists, Joseph Ratzinger is not a reformer or a leader in the fight against child abuse. On the contrary he is at the very top of the cover up and acted more like a promoter and an enforcer even if he tried pathetically to safe the catholic boat from sinking with "new rules". The catholic church is not above the law and it is not surprising that Amnesty International name the Vatican in their Human Right Annual Report for their failures (http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/vatican/report-2011). I can only conclude with the famous quote of Professor Richard Dawkins:
"A leering old villain in a frock, who spent decades conspiring behind closed doors for the position he now holds; a man who believes he is infallible and acts the part; a man whose preaching of scientific falsehood is responsible for the deaths of countless AIDS victims in Africa; a man whose first instinct when his priests are caught with their pants down is to cover up the scandal and damn the young victims to silence".
N.B. It must be noted that nobody has ever done more for atheism and humanism than Joseph Ratzinger himself.