Pope 'knew more about abuse case than Vatican admitted'

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The pope was kept more closely informed of a German priest's abuse case than previous church statements have suggested, the New York Times claimed today.

The allegations raise fresh questions about his handling of a scandal unfolding under his direct supervision.

The Times said the then Cardinal Ratzinger was copied in on a memo that informed him a priest, whom he had approved sending to therapy in 1980 to overcome paedophilia, would be returned to pastoral work within days of beginning psychiatric treatment

The priest was then convicted of molesting boys in another parish.

The paper said an initial statement on the matter by the Archdiocese of Munich placed full responsibility for the decision to allow the priest to resume his duties on Cardinal Ratzinger's deputy, the Rev. Gerhard Gruber.