Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 6:13 pm
In a period of just over two years, Pope Benedict XVI defrocked nearly 400 priests for molesting children, according to the AP, which says it obtained a document representing a rare collection of such data.
As of Friday afternoon, NPR hasn't independently confirmed the AP's information, not having seen the document. Here's a bit of context from NPR's Sylvia Poggioli in Rome:
"If confirmed, the number of nearly 400 marks a sharp increase over the 170 priests removed in 2008 and 2009, when the Vatican first provided details on the number of defrocked priests.
The first Jesuit pope, the first pope to replace a sitting pope in 600 years, the first pope from the "New World," Pope Francis has been raising eyebrows and spirits of progressives and the blood pressure of stalwart Catholics with his recent interviews and public statements.
On Monday Catholics were greeted with the unexpected news of Pope Benedict VXI announcing he will be stepping down at the end of the month. San Antonio Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller, who was appointed by Benedict, expressed his thoughts on moving forward and gratitude for the Pope’s years of service.
Like many across the world, Archbishop Garcia-Siller said the announcement came as a surprise to him. The Archbishop sent three weeks with the Pontiff in October during the last Synod of Bishops at the Vatican.