Are the slew of defrocked priests just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the latest Vatican sex abuse scandal?
In a related report from The Inquisitr, a recent report revealed that 400 priests had been defrocked by Pope Benedict. This comes right on top of the Vatican banking scandal.
The hits just keep on coming for the Catholic church, and the report of the defrocked priests was confirmed by Vatican reps. While it's good that Pope Benedict put some energy towards cracking down on sex abuse within the Catholic church before he resigned from the Papacy, the documentation seemed to show an inexplicable explosion of sex abuse cases in 2011, possibly related to increased reporting from 2010.
The Vatican's ambassador to the UN, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, was likely sweating bullets under the pointed scrutiny of the Geneva committee this week. The annual reports from the Church revealed the 384 priests had left, voluntarily or otherwise, in 2011 and 2012. The information came from the "Activity of the Holy See," what is essentially a Vatican yearbook, showing 125 priests were defrocked for sexual abused allegations from children in 2011 and 135 were "dispensed," meaning they voluntarily resigned. Basically,t they got off scot-free for sexual abuse of children. In 2012, 57 priests were removed and 67 resigned from the priesthood.
The Catholic church has always seemed to be above the law, as the maximum penalty a priest can face for sexually abusing children is losing his job, which is what being "defrocked" means. Church procedure seems to trump civil law and it's penalties, and the church routinely tells victims to keep quiet. There is no jail time for the priests essentially raping children.
But the defrocked priests appear to be potentially just the start of a massive backlog of cases. Nicholas Cafardi, a canon and civil lawyer suggested there was way more to the story than what has already been revealed:
"I've seen a reliable report that more than 700 cases have been sent over by America alone, so 400, that's not surprising."
"My clients want to know what took the pope so long to defrock the 400 priests and why he hasn't defrocked 4,000. It's just the tip of the iceberg."