Letter Reveals Pope Resisted Defrocking Sexually Abusive Priest

The AP is calling a recently-authenticated 1985 letter "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."

Pope The letter deals with the proposed defrocking of Rev. Stephen Kiesle, calls for which began in 1981:

"Kiesle had been sentenced in 1978 to three years' probation after pleading no contest to misdemeanor charges of lewd conduct for tying up and molesting two young boys in a San Francisco Bay area church rectory.

As his probation ended in 1981, Kiesle asked to leave the priesthood and the diocese submitted papers to Rome to defrock him.

In his earliest letter to Ratzinger, Cummins warned that returning Kiesle to ministry would cause more of a scandal than stripping him of his priestly powers."

The then Cardinal's long-delayed response:

"In the November 1985 letter, Ratzinger says the arguments for removing Kiesle are of 'grave significance' but added that such actions required very careful review and more time. He also urged the bishop to provide Kiesle with 'as much paternal care as possible' while awaiting the decision, according to a translation for AP by Professor Thomas Habinek, chairman of the University of Southern California Classics Department.

But the future pope also noted that any decision to defrock Kiesle must take into account the 'good of the universal church' and the 'detriment that granting the dispensation can provoke within the community of Christ's faithful, particularly considering the young age.' Kiesle was 38 at the time."

Text of letter here.


  1. Ted says

    if they promise to let him keep his ermine cape & prada shoes, do you think he will go quietly?

  2. John says

    The problem isn’t limited to Benedict XVI (Ratzinger).

    Practically every cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church is guilty to some degree or another. It is a global coverup that goes all the way up the hierarchy of the church. That much is now clear. And they’re all defending the pope for a very simple reason. If he abdicates, who among them would do better as pope?

  3. walter says

    don’t worry the defenders of the pope will claim that the letter is a fraud and written by the new york times. at some time somebody to investigate and find out how bad this really is and how many children have been abused. the pope put the church ahead of the children and should end up in hell

  4. LAXJFK says

    The Catholic Church is a criminal organization and ultra right-wing political party. The “pope” is a disgusting criminal.

  5. TANK says

    Yes, it would be appropriate for him to resign. But that will never happen. These scandals are forgotten within months due to the extreme nature of the crimes and the extent of the coverup. People are immune to this now. It’s revolting, but nothing significant will happen. No real repercussions. Religious leaders can pretty much say and do whatever they like, and they can always count of the faithful to redeem them. As to funding, donations to christian churches have been declining for a while now. It’s the secularization of society that causes people refuse to fund these frauds and criminals (all christian churches).

  6. says

    Hey Virtual Despot: I hope Andy continues to run that disgusting photo as long as the Pope and all the rest of the child-fucking lying priests continue to you know, fuck children and lie.

    There is nothing pretty about this catholic sex scandal, and there is no reason to try to pretty it up with sanitized imagery. what do you want, flowers and chocolates sitting in a pew?

  7. virtualdespot says

    Casey: The mental images are bad enough – who needs them illustrated? The boy in this photo doesn’t deserve to be the unwilling poster child for the sins of his elders. I don’t think it’s fair.

  8. TANK says

    Grampy joe (jervis)@ joemygod posts the completed act where papa nazi is actually kissing the kid. So, this is an improvement.

  9. anon says

    The problem is that they thought at the time that they could get away with a cover-up. The second problem was that they were fighting communism in Easter Europe, and so any scandal would have disrupted that. However, I doubt we’ll get any honest answers out of them now, just as we don’t get any answers about the Holocaust and the church. They play lots of games of moral relativism.

  10. Dobbler says

    Fuzzy fuzzy.. All they have to do is fuzzy it up.. That’s what Governments do.. As long as it’s fuzzy and confusing for people they can get away with anything. It’s a ridiculous organisation and it’s time for it to go.. But it won’t, it’s the most powerful organisation on the planet.. It’s time we started actively disrespecting and ridiculing it, there is nothing to respect about an organisation that consciously ruins lives, lies and uses it’s power to cover it up. Not to mention the wealth.. Have you been to the Vatican?it’s disturbing that they own so much, yet take a “vow of poverty” and ask their “flock” to reduce their dependance on “Material things..” – Fucking hypocritical bullshit.. Argh I’m angry now!! Sorry for the rant.

  11. JusticeontheRocks says

    For some reason all this makes me think of the old joke about “half Nelson, full Nelson and Father Nelson.”

    Maybe some day a judge will grow a set and award one of the molested men all the church’s property in the US. Then they might cut the bullshit and change their ways.

  12. Dave Red says

    Continuing to use that picture drops you to the level of those in the Vatican that peddle hate. There is no evidence that that pedophillia numbers among the Pope’s sins.

  13. walter says

    continue to use that picture. it will help to keep people focused on the real problem the continued cover up of abuse of children.
    the pope kisses kids while hiding priests who rape them. two faced show both of them