The Pope knew
Worse, the cardinals were following his directives. Which were to cover up any sexual misconduct by priests and ignore the victims.
“As pressure continued to build Wednesday for Cardinal Bernard Law to resign as head of the Boston Archdiocese, critics said they had uncovered a Ã¢â‚¬Å“smoking gunÃ¢â‚¬Â that shows Law and other U.S. Catholic leaders accused of covering up sex abuse allegations were acting on the popeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s orders.
In the document, Pope John Paul II says a defrocked Catholic priest who had a history of molesting boys should leave the areas where his Ã¢â‚¬Å“conditionÃ¢â‚¬Â was known Ã¢â‚¬” or stay put as long as it caused no scandal.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“That would explain why (other) bishops have done the same thing as Cardinal Law Ã¢â‚¬” theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve moved sexual offenders from parish to parish without notifying the parishioners,Ã¢â‚¬Â Gallagher said.”
In other words, they were just following orders.