A spokesman said the claims, which stem from a letter signed by Benedict XVI when he was a senior Vatican official, had been taken out of context.
Well, let's go take a look at this letter, shall we?
Most Excellent Bishop
Having received your letter of September 13 of this year, regarding the matter of the removal from all priestly burdens pertaining to Rev Stephen Miller Kiesle in your diocese, it is my duty to share with you the following:
This court, although it regards the arguments presented in favour of removal in this case to be of grave significance, nevertheless deems it necessary to consider the good of the Universal Church together with that of the petitioner, and it is also unable to make light of the detriment that granting the dispensation can provoke with the community of Christ's faithful, particularly regarding the young age of the petitioner.
It is necessary for this Congregation to submit incidents of this sort to very careful consideration, which necessitates a longer period of time.
In the meantime your Excellency must not fail to provide the petitioner with as much paternal care as possible and in addition to explain to same the rationale of this court, which is accustomed to proceed keeping the common good especially before its eyes.
Let me take this occasion to convey sentiments of the highest regard always to you.
Your most Reverend Excellency
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
I see ... in effect, then Cardinal Ratzinger is saying that he will do NOTHING - mostly out of fear that the church will be "embarrassed"!
I cannot even begin to express my outrage over the Pope's obvious and direct involvement in this case.
AP said the Rev Kiesle was sentenced to three years of probation in 1978 for lewd conduct with two young boys in San Francisco. It said the Oakland diocese had recommended Kiesle's removal in 1981 but that that did not happen until 1987.
Cardinal Ratzinger took over the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which deals with sex abuse cases, in 1981.
AP says the 1985 correspondence, written in Latin, shows Cardinal Ratzinger saying that Kiesle's removal would need careful review.
Cardinal Ratzinger urged "as much paternal care as possible" for Kiesle.
Kiesle was sentenced to six years in prison in 2004 after admitting molesting a young girl in 1995.
Kiesle is now 63 and is on the registered sex offenders list in California.
So ... the man had already been convicted in criminal courts of precisely the kind of conduct that the Church routinely condemns very publicly, and the Vatican doddles over taking any meaningful action for how many years? Good lord, but that's criminal in itself.
Yes, eventually, Cardinal Ratzinger's offices did defrock this priest - six full years after the diocese itself asked for this priest to be removed? That's supposed to be 'good enough'?
It's not. Moving so slowly when the accused has already been found criminally responsible is appalling - and speaks to an organization that has its priorities so profoundly misplaced that it really should give its head a shake. The leadership in Oakland had its priorities straight, and actually acted in the best interests of the church. This ball dropped in the Vatican.