Top Catholic clerics from France and Britain expressed shame, anger and regret Friday over a widening abuse scandal in the church that has reached Pope Benedict XVI's doorstep.
At the same time, the Vatican and Benedict's former German diocese strongly denied a newspaper report that said the pope was aware that a priest later convicted of molesting boys was returning to pastoral work.
They said the pope, then archbishop in Munich, Germany, had no knowledge of the decision to return the priest to resume his duties.
The archdiocese "rejects any other version of events as mere speculation," the Vatican said.
The Vatican and archdiocese were responding to a New York Times article published Friday that said the future pope was copied on a memo informing him the priest, the Rev. Peter Hullermann, would return to pastoral work within days of beginning psychiatric treatment for pedophilia.
Filed under: Pope Benedict
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