Retraction: Vatican now confirms almost 400 priests defrocked for sex abuse

In spite of an earlier Vatican statement denying an Associated Press story that almost 400 priests had been defrocked for the sexual abuse of minors during 2011/2012, a bishop with knowledge of the statistics says the AP story was correct.

The Vatican spokesman also confirmed the AP story in response to an NCR inquiry.

Auxiliary Bishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, who served for 10 years as the Vatican's top sex abuse prosecutor and who represented the Vatican during a Jan. 16 hearing of the U.N.'s Committee of the Rights of the Child, told NCR that in 2011 and 2012, 384 priests were either voluntarily dismissed from the clerical state or had laicization imposed as a penalty in cases related to sexual abuse.

Scicluna spoke to NCR Jan. 17 by phone.

Based on information provided in the published volume "Activity of the Holy See," according to Scicluna, there were 135 priests in 2011 who voluntarily requested dismissal from the clerical state and 125 for whom laicization was imposed as a penalty.

We say: Charlottesville reveals the weeping wound of racism. What do we, the American Catholic faith community, do next? Read the editorial.

For 2012, the numbers were 67 voluntary dismissals and 57 cases in which laicization was imposed.

In total, that comes to 384 clergy over the two year period who were removed from the priesthood in cases related to the sexual abuse of minors.

Earlier this evening, Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi initially denied that report, saying that it was based on confusion between cases reported to the Vatican and the end result of those cases.

Lombardi later told NCR, however, that the AP report was "correct" and not based on "a confusion with reported cases."

(Follow John Allen on Twitter: @JohnLAllenJr)

Support independent reporting on important issues.

 One family graphic_2016_250x103.jpg

Show comments

NCR Comment code: (Comments can be found below)

Before you can post a comment, you must verify your email address at
Comments from unverified email addresses will be deleted.

  • Be respectful. Do not attack the writer. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the original idea will be deleted. NCR reserves the right to close comment threads when discussions are no longer productive.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report abuse" button. Once a comment has been flagged, an NCR staff member will investigate.

For more detailed guidelines, visit our User Guidelines page.

For help on how to post a comment, visit our reference page.

Commenting is available during business hours, Central time, USA. Commenting is not available in the evenings, over weekends and on holidays. More details are available here. Comments are open on NCR's Facebook page.