The head of a new sexual abuse prevention task force in the German former diocese of the Pope likened new abuse allegations to a "tsunami" on Friday.

Elke Huemmeler estimated there are roughly 120 cases on the record right now, with about 100 of them stemming from a monastery boarding school run by Benedictine monks near Munich.

Huemmeler's task force, which was commissioned by Archbishop Reinhard Marx, started its work on Friday.

She said her role was not to handle old abuse allegations, but to help start the prevention program.

Abuse allegations at the Ettal boarding school arose three weeks ago.

"I don't think I have ever seen us that shocked," Huemmeler said, speaking of the Catholic Church's leadership.

The diocese now has three specialists to deal with abuse allegations brought forward by victims.

Pope Benedict XVI was the archbishop of Munich from 1977 to 1982, and has drawn criticism for not addressing the abuse cases coming to light in Germany.

The Pope will address sex abuse allegations on Saturday in a papal letter to Catholics in Ireland. It's not known if he will address allegations that the church covered up abuse cases.

Archbishop Marx said the Pope's letter to Ireland "will of course affect us."

"The Pope always speaks for everyone. It is not so individual, for specific groups or countries. That word will also be important for us," he said.

Marx said he doesn't expect the pontiff to take responsibility for abuse.

"We expect the Pope to take a stand on everything every time, but we are responsible for what happens here," he said.

With files from The Associated Press