The sexual abuse of boys by Catholic priests is not a new phenomenon -- it's been going on for decades, perhaps even longer. But the question "what did the Vatican know and when did it know it?" has never been answered.
Now a new letter reportedly indicates that the Vatican has known for nearly 50 years.
The Associated Press reports that in a 1963 letter to then-Pope Paul VI, the head of a Roman Catholic order that oversaw treatment of pedophile priests told the Pope he recommended removing pedophile priests from active ministry.
The letter is a summary of the Rev. Gerald M.C. Fitzgerald's thoughts on problem priests that appears to have been requested by the Pontiff after Fitzgerald's 1963 visit to the Vatican. Fitzgerald headed the New Mexico-based Servants of the Holy Paraclete.
The AP says the letter was released Wednesday in Los Angeles by attorneys for California clergy abuse victims who obtained the document during litigation.