Pope Benedict Reportedly Laicized 400 Priests in Two Years

Click here to read: “Pope Benefict Reportedly Defrocked 400 Priests in 2 Years,” by Nicole Winfield and John Helprin, Associated Press, ABC News, Jan. 17, 2014


“A document obtained by The Associated Press on Friday shows Pope Benedict XVI defrocked nearly 400 priests over just two years for molesting children.

The statistics for 2011-12 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. Prior to that, it had only publicly revealed the number of alleged cases of sexual abuse it had received.

The document was prepared from data the Vatican had been collecting to help the Holy See defend itself before a U.N. committee this week in Geneva.”

Editor’s Note: Now how about the Bishops who covered it up?

25 thoughts on “Pope Benedict Reportedly Laicized 400 Priests in Two Years

    1. Carol: The one thing I have learned about numbers, is that they can be used by both sides in a dispute to support their side of the argument. Four hundred priests equals how many victims. How many priests were not defrocked because their was not enough evidence to support such an action. How many victims are out there still afraid to come forward ?

  1. Defrocking gets rid of the problem for them. How many did they report to the authorities for their crimes? They just released them to go out and find more victims. It’s sickening.

    1. stilldisillusioned–describes my state of mind as well. How can the Pope just let 400 priests go with no supervision, no report to the police, to possibly continue the pattern of abuse with no warning whatsoever to the unsuspecting public? This is reprehensible and shows yet again that the RCC hierarchy does not understand the nature of the illness of the sex offender. I am afraid to say it but I will “they will never “get” it.

  2. The institutional Church finds it self in a dilemma of its own making. As long as the RCC considers the priesthood as an absolutely specialized ministry in the Church with the mind set that “you are a priest forever”, “ontologically” changed and configured to Jesus Christ, then it will continue to ignore the reality that it must deal with these predators not as “Jesus Christ” but as the criminals that they are. Even to use the argument that these men are psychologically and pathologically predators and liars but they are “priests”, is the trap which the RCC has set for itself. No other religious community in the world so treats its ministers in such a “separate and untouchable” condition.
    Protecting a “theological position” over the facts of criminality places the RCC institution far removed from all reality. JPII failed to remove priests because he thought more of the institutional premise of ” forever” than this person is a criminal and must face criminal charges. The bishops who continue to subscribe to this position and accept the guidance of the previous administration are in reality guilty of cover up and deception.

    Will they ever learn??? “Defrocking” is such an absurd statement. What a word! Not laicization either. “fired from office” is a much better term and turned over for criminal charges

    1. “…….Protecting a “theological position” over the facts of criminality places the RCC institution far removed from all reality…..”

      John, clear statement which describes just what the institutional Catholic Church is all about when resolving (???) these issues. Yes, this is indeed of their own making…….they sure are a pitiful and wretched lot…..no one would really care EXCEPT that their lack of candor, honesty, forthrightness, maturity and fairness has destroyed thousands of victims and their families.

  3. Father John: By making priests “little gods” when they are ordained, they become invincible, kind of like supermen. One thing I am very confused about and maybe you could straighten this out for me While listening to the .Vatican official talking at the U.N. inquest, he kept saying that the responsibility for dealing with the abuse crisis rested with the Bishops of the Church .The Vatican held no responsibility . And yet four hundred priests were defrocked for abusing children, by the Vatican. For one who held no responsibility, they certainly acted like they were responsible.

  4. Kathy & Susan,

    As this major story continues to unfold I have recently read that another Roman Catholic priest of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has been arrested today and charged with harassment and indecent assault. Father John Roebuck, Vicar of Saint Stanislaus Church is in police custody.

    The Lansdale police said they would not release any information about the case until Monday

    1. This incident took place on Dec. 15. Fr. Roebuck was placed on administrative leave. We’re learning about it 4 weeks later? So much for transparency and timely notification. None of Roebuck’s parishioners at St. Stanislaus have sought the reason behind his absence? He disappears and they don’t wonder and ask why? Or did they, and they were they given some erroneous reason for it?

      “Saving priesthoods”… the clerical mantra resulting from Fr. Wintermyer’s “you are a priest forever,” the “ontological change,” and “configured to Jesus Christ.” “No other religious community in the world so treats its ministers in such a ‘separate and untouchable’ condition.”

      I have argued for years on C4C that the priesthood is the bane, curse, nemesis, and infliction of the Church. Woven into the Church’s crimes, sins, injustices, crises, corruption, convoluted theologies, prejudices, and ignorances is one, common thread– the priesthood. Clerics and their culture are behind it all.

      Reform the priesthood.

      1. If you look on the St. Stan’s website under staff, they have another priest listed as on administrative leave – Monsignor Joseph Logrip. No notation regarding Fr. Roebuck. I can’t imagine why parishioners aren’t asking questions and demanding answers. According to the news, the incident regarding Roebuck apparently does not involve a minor, St. Stan’s does have a regional school associated with the parish (Mater Dei) although I am unsure if it is at the same location. Were the parents notified? Or does the archdiocese feel it is not necessary as the alleged incident does not involve a minor? While parents of course don’t want their child near someone accused of child sexual abuse, I have a feeling they also don’t want their kids around people accused of ANY criminal behavior. I would love to know what parishioners were told regarding his absence for the past month.

        1. Catholicmom: Having lived in the Lansdale area for many years, I am quite familiar with the layout of the land. Mater Dei was formed when two other local church schools were closed. St. Rose of Lima in North Wales, and a second school in Hatfield[the name escapes me now] were combined with St. Stanislaus to form the new school. It is located in the buildings formerly occupied by St. Stans. I have another connection to St. Stans. For a period of time my mother served as a cook in the St. Stans rectory. This was many years ago. My two kids attended the public schools which were pretty good schools. The only time I was ever in a St. Stans building was when my son was in middle school and played basketball there. I was at every practice and game. There must be something in the water in Lansdale these days. Robert Kerns was arrested in late November for drugging and raping a woman who worked at his law firm. For those, unfamiliar with Mr. Kerns, he was a former chairman of the Republican party in Montgomery County. I knew Bob from coaching in the Nor Gwynn little league program. I found him to be a good person who did much for the program. His teams were well coached and disciplined .One never knows.

          1. Jim, You have given a perfect example of what you, I and so many other people have heard. Father So & So could not have done such a thing he is a Godly man or Mr. So & So could not have done that he was the best neighbor ever.

            We have all learned to say when we hear those words ” You Wanna Bet”.

            It is sad that we must live under the saying “never judge a book by its cover” because we don’t know what kind of horror story is inside.

        2. I think a lot more questions will be answered on Monday when the police will release more info or Thursday at the preliminary hearing. Right now we have no idea when the victim came forward to file charges and when a criminal investigation began.

      2. If you really want to view a tragic story and culture similar to one described over and over again in this blog, I just finished viewing this PBS video……..”Outlawed in Pakistan”, a young woman and her family’s struggle for justice after she was gang raped by four adult men. Entire episode available for viewing at

  5. Nikki Davis, SNAP’s Australia’s arm made some very interesting observations on The ABC’s Drum last night, she felt the Holy See wasn’t taken to task enough, with their responses and like many others doesn’t believe Francis is going to do very much about anything, apart from pushing on with his PR exercises and wily legal counsellors.
    As pope he has come up from his past smelling like a rose and will continue to do so in the future unless something or someone is successful coming from the grave.
    Neither he or The Holy See has any no duristriction there, even if they think they have using beautifications……at the end of the day God won’t be mocked.

  6. Maybe there should be a law “endangering the welfare of children” that should apply to bishops and church leaders for allowing known abusers back into the community.

  7. Jim, when a priest is ordained for a Diocese or a religious order, he signs a statement of acceptance of Priesthood which is sent directly to Rome and filed (somewhere). At that point, the priest is under the control of the local bishop but he is officially “owned” by the Church through the Vatican. The local bishop can suspend his activities and remove his faculties for celebrating Mass or “Hearing confessions”, but that bishop cannot “defrock” nor “laicize” the individual. Only Rome and the Pope can make that decision. If the bishop suspends the priest, he has the right to appeal to Rome and Rome can decide either for the priest or the Bishop. So complicated as it appears, the priest does work for the “church” in general. Rome does not “outsource” its ministers. If the priest does not teach what the Church wants taught, he will have all his faculties removed and forbidden to teach as a “Catholic” priest by Rome. Note, Hans Kung, Charles Curran, Tissa Beasuria, ( hundreds of others under JPII and Benedict XVI. ( See Matthew Fox “The Pope’s War” (Index) ) but only some were laicized.
    Laicization remains the prerogative only of Rome and the Pope.

    1. Thank you, Reverend. I am seeking some thoughts on this horrible scenario that happened to our family in 2011, six weeks after a certain priest/relative was indicted by the Grand Jury that January, 2011. He administered last rites to a family member. I would assume that the local bishop would have told my relative what he could or could not do after the indictment, pending what the charges would be in the criminal trial. (My relative was found quilty, BTW, and is in prison.) For almost 3 years, it has been driving me insane that my relative was allowed to travel to a hospital not real close by and give this most important sacrament to my mother. Any insight would be most appreciated. Thanks!

      1. I wouldn’t call it a horrible scenario that your mother actually got last rites. Here are some suggestions/thoughts that i came up with:

        1. Call the local bishop and ask what the rules are
        2. Maybe someone in your family asked your relative to give the last rites. The indictment from the grand jury does not mean a person is guilty. Although from what i have read on this site it most certainly does when it comes to anyone with a collar.

  8. To victim’s sister from another victim’s sister: I am not doubting you, so there must not be a law as you stated above. Thank you for pointing that out. I wonder why not? Is it just too obvious that such a law should exist? So we can add stupidity to the list of uncaring, lack of morals, “maybe it’s the victim’s fault”, no ethics, etc. ???

  9. I am sorry, Victim’s sister: I took your comment a different way. My answer to your proposal about such a law is ABSOLUTELY YES!! Then we will have safer children and no huge announcements about the DA’s Landmark Case with Lynn, and all the arguing and unnecessary, unpleasant, ridiculous comments that went with it. It SHOULD be a given that what these Bishops and Church officials are wrong. I’m still wondering why or how people don’t get that.

  10. MC in response to your question. First of all I am sorry that your family had to endure this sad situation of having a relative charged with this criminal action. I am sure you have many conflicting feelings about this whole scenario.
    As to the specific situation of the priest anointing your mother, I would have no idea what the bishop told him and what restrictions he had placed on your relative. Theoretically, he was told that he could not perform ministerial functions as a priest. There has always been a teaching in the church that even if a priest is in a state of sin and forbidden to perform sacraments, in the case of an emergency such as “last Rites”, he could function for the good of the person he was anointing. Maybe your relative did not want to share either the charge he was under nor the bishop’s admonition to cease practice. Since he was a relative and called to the hospital, he just acted on his own . Apparently he just wanted to save his own “face” and reputation before family. I am not judging, I am just stating what “may” have occurred in this situation.
    Please note my own disclaimer, but I am not a canon lawyer, I am just relying on my understanding of sacramental ministry as a priest.

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