Almost 400 Priests Defrocked over Abuse, Bishop Quinn Reacts

Created: 01/17/2014 10:47 PM
By: Steph Crock

(ABC 6 News) -- A new document reveals former Pope Benedict XVI defrocked hundreds of priests over a span of 2 years. The defrocking involving nearly 400 priests occurred during 2011 and 2012 for sexually molesting children. The information was compiled from data the Vatican was collecting to help defend the church before a U.N. committee this week in Geneva.

There was an explosion in the number of cases reported in the media across the world, country, even in our state. Just recently, 13 priests from the Winona Diocese were accused of sexual abuse. "There is no room in the priesthood for anyone that abuses children," said Bishop John Quinn with the Winona Diocese.

Those men have either passed or have been removed from priesthood. An action, Bishop John Quinn with the Winona Diocese says, is necessary for this type of behavior. "If we see something that isn't right, bring it to the supervisor, bring it to someone in charge so that this never happens again," said Bishop Quinn.

As more cases hit the surface, victims are growing skeptical of the church. "All these years and it’s still going on, not one thing has changed," said one victim at a press conference overseas. However, a Vatican Correspondent out of Italy, says a lot has changed over the years. "2002 they had the rules in place, 2003 they started to get a large number of reports coming in and every year you got a bigger description of how The Holy See is handling the cases," said Vatican Correspondent Nicole Winfiel.

"I am very skeptical about the statements of The Holy See and their delegation that they're doing more and that there's been some sort of major change from 2011 to present time, because I don't see that being the case," said another victim at the press conference.

Bishop Quinn says it's heartbreaking to know some have lost trust in the church, but hopes their concerns will make it stronger. "Even those who have criticized us, I thank them because we are going to do better. We are trying every day to do our best and those that say do better, know that's our goal," said Bishop Quinn.

During that two year period, there were actually 800 new cases to review, almost 400 were defrocked by Pope Benedict. Vatican Correspondents say the others were sent to either church tribunals for review or were dealt with administratively.