GILLIAN FLACCUS writes in the AP:
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LOS ANGELES — Four years after a California priest and convicted child molester asked to be defrocked, his bishop pleaded with the future Pope Benedict XVI to remove the man from the priesthood. Then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger replied, urging caution.”
Consider the good of the Universal Church,” Ratzinger wrote in a 1985 letter to Oakland Bishop John Cummins. “It is necessary for this Congregation to submit incidents of this sort to very careful consideration, which necessitates a longer period of time.”
Two more years would pass before the Vatican acted on the Rev. Stephen Kiesle’s request to leave.
A copy of the letter, typewritten in Latin and signed by Ratzinger, was obtained by The Associated Press. It constitutes the strongest challenge yet to the Vatican’s insistence that Benedict played no role in blocking the removal of pedophile priests during his years as head of the Catholic Church’s doctrinal watchdog office.