According to the documents released Tuesday, Buckman was transferred to a diocese in Baker, Ore., which covers the eastern two-thirds of the state, after he was accused of sexual abuse.
Driscoll had written a glowing letter of recommendation.
"He will be a blessing to you and your diocese," Driscoll wrote, "and he is always welcome to 'come home' with us."
In February 1989, a mother of eight asked Driscoll to investigate Buckman's alleged molestation of her son, while he was still an Orange County priest.
With the investigation dragging on 15 months later, the mother appealed to Pope John Paul II.
In a letter composed in Spanish, the mother complained that Tomas Clavel, the retired archbishop of Panama, had "intimidated" her from making a police report. Clavel was then working in the Orange Diocese, but has since died.
"Not to say anything publicly. Everything was hushed up," the mother wrote. "I am asking you, I am begging you to do justice," she told the pope. "Please answer me so I will know that there is someone in the world who cares for the humble people."
Buckman, 67, was removed from ministry in Orange but is still a priest. Reached by phone Tuesday in Mesa, Ariz., where he retired in 2002, Buckman said of the sexual abuse allegations, "That's not true, and I have nothing more to say about it."
He said he retired because "I was old enough." Asked why he believes he was accused, Buckman said, "I don't know. I think money."
Times staff writers Anna Gorman and Larry B. Stammer contributed to this report.
Excerpts: secrecy and outrage
Newly released documents show that officials in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange covered up for some pedophile priests. Excerpts from the priests' files:
Father Eleuterio "Al" Ramos
March 27, 1975. An Archdiocese of Los Angeles memo on Ramos' psychological treatment:
"This care was suggested by the district attorney as a result of a recent incident."
Undated. Notes from Father Michael Driscoll, then chancellor of the Diocese of Orange (now bishop of Boise, Idaho), on Ramos' abuse report.
"Obscene words-gestures. Bad judgment-immature acts. Offered boys drinks (alcoholic). Boys out late at night."
April 15, 1980. Letter from Bishop William R. Johnson to a parishioner:
Ramos "truly is a fine priest, zealous and generous hearted.... He will be returning to the diocese early next month and we look forward to having him back with us."