As the Vatican was being blistered by a U.N. committee this week for its decades-long mishandling and cover up of a global sex abuse scandal involving priests and children, new disclosures show the extraordinary steps that Pope Benedict XVI took to get rid of problem priests.
In just two years, Benedict defrocked nearly 400 priests, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press, which first reported the story on Friday. The number of priests defrocked by Benedict in 2011 and 2012 reflected a dramatic spike over the 171 priests removed in 2008 and 2009, according to the AP.
The newly uncovered statistics come from data from annual reports compiled by the Vatican to help the Holy See defend itself before a U.N. committee this week in Geneva.
While Benedict has been seen as remote, dogmatic, and lacking the charisma of both his predecessor, John Paul II, and his successor, Pope Francis, he was aggressive in pushing the Holy See to address the scourge of child molestation within the Church.0