In his first published statements since he resigned in February, former Pope Benedict denied that he ever tried to cover up the sexual abuse of children by Roman Catholic priests. The former Pope's letter was printed in the La Repubblica newspaper and was a reaction to Italian author, mathematician and well-known atheist Piergiorgio Odifreddi's book about the church's problems. Victims have criticized Benedict for not doing enough about the abuse of children while he was pope. Benedict was the first pope in centuries to resign when he retired on Feb. 28. His successor, Pope Francis, was elected two weeks later.