Pope Benedict XVI defrocked nearly 400 priests in just two years, for molesting children, according to a document obtained by the Associated Press.
The statistics for 2011 and 2012 show a dramatic increase over the 171 priests removed in 2008 and 2009, when the Vatican first provided details on the number of priests who have been defrocked. Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi confirmed that the figures were accurate.
Prior to that, the Vatican had only publicly revealed the number of alleged cases of sexual abuse it had received and the number of trials it had authorized.
While it’s not clear why the numbers spiked in 2011, it could be because 2010 saw a new explosion in the number of cases reported in the media in Europe and beyond.
Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican’s UN ambassador in Geneva, referred to just one of the statistics in the course of eight hours of sometimes pointed criticism and questioning from the UN human rights committee.
The statistics were compiled from the Vatican’s own annual reports about the activities of its various offices, including the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which handles sex abuse cases. Although public, the annual reports are not readily available or sold outside Rome and are usually found in Vatican offices or Catholic university libraries.
An AP review of the reference books shows a remarkable evolution in the Holy See’s in-house procedures to discipline pedophiles since 2001, when the Vatican ordered bishops to send cases of all credibly accused priests to Rome for review.
Imagine that, four hundred priests sacked in just over twenty four months. But here in the UK we’ve allowed Lord Brittan to go to his death bed in peace, Lord Janner to develop Dementia and Jimmy Savile & Cyril Smith were buried six feet under before we found out about their prolific child abusing tendencies. Let’s face it, we’re not quite up to the standards of the pontificate yet, are we?