Vatican waited over 10 yrs to defrock AZ pedophile priest, records show

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ARIZONA - Vatican correspondence shows that the Catholic Church waited more than a decade to defrock a pedophile priest even after an Arizona bishop implored the future Pope Benedict XVI to remove him.

The discovery comes as the church fights mushrooming allegations that the future pope failed to make sure abusive priests were properly punished.

Files reviewed by The Associated Press in the case of the Rev. Michael Teta show the late Bishop Manuel Moreno convened a church trial that found Teta had molested children.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future pope, told the Arizona bishop he was taking over the case in 1992. Moreno wrote to Ratzinger five years later urgently asking him to defrock Teta since only the Vatican has that power.

That didn't happen until 2004.

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