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Mexico abuse victims denounce Vatican as Pope Benedict XVI visits

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Mexico abuse vicitmsSexual abuse victims angrily accused the Vatican on Saturday of protecting a notorious Mexican priest for decades, and said they were dismayed that Pope Benedict XVI will not meet with them on his visit to the country.

Benedict has sat down with abuse victims in almost every country he has visited. But his spokesman said Mexican bishops did not request such an encounter here -- an omission that victims' advocates said was unconscionable.

The pope arrived in Mexico’s central Guanajuato state Friday and continues to Cuba on Monday. He was scheduled to meet with President Felipe Calderon later Saturday and will preside over an open-air Mass on Sunday that organizers say could draw more than 300,000 people.

A group that included abuse victims and experts in the field held a forum here in Leon to release a book that they say establishes "irrefutably" that Vatican officials knew of the egregious crimes committed by the late Rev. Marcial Maciel.

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