Back in April 2005, Germany was overjoyed when a native son was elevated to the papacy. But in the past week, the Catholic Church in the country has faced a barrage of criticism from politicians and the media as well as from the faithful — and much of the ire is focused on the German who is now Supreme Pontiff in Rome. On Monday, the daily Süddeutsche Zeitung splashed the headline "Benedict XVI Remains Silent" on a front-page story describing how the Pope declined to comment on the growing priestly sexual-abuse scandal in his native Germany during public prayers in the Vatican on Sunday. "The abuse scandal has been a nightmare," Alois Glück, president of Germany's lay organization, the Central Committee of German Catholics, tells TIME. "It's one of the worst crises that we've seen in the Catholic Church here in Germany."