Pope kept priest who abused kids; CHURCH.
THE Pope resisted pleas to defrock a priest who had a record of molesting children, amid concerns about the good of the Church.
A letter from 1985 which bears his signature is the strongest challenge yet to the Vatican's insistence that Benedict XVI played no role in blocking the removal of paedophile priests.
Church officials in California wanted to remove Rev Stephen Kiesle in 1981 after he tied up and abused two young boys in a rectory.
The Pope, who was then a cardinal in charge of the Church's doctrinal watchdog office, responded four years later admitting the arguments for defrocking Kiesle were of "grave significance".
But the letter added that such actions needed careful review and should take into account the "good of the universal church".
It was two more years before Kiesle was removed.
The Vatican yesterday declined to comment.
LETTER Pontiff ran watchdog