January 17, 2014 2:13 pm

Pope Benedict XVI defrocks 400 priests in 2 years: document

In this file photo, Pope Benedict XVI delivers his blessing to pilgrims, for the last time as head of the Catholic Church, from the window of Castel Gandolfo where he will start his retirement on February 28, 2013 in Rome, Italy.

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VATICAN CITY - A document obtained by The Associated Press shows Pope Benedict XVI defrocked nearly 400 priests over just two years for molesting children.

The statistics for 2011-12 represent the first time that the Vatican has provided details on the number of priests who have been defrocked. Prior to that, it had only revealed the number of alleged cases of sexual abuse it had received.

READ MORE: Vatican comes under sharp criticism for sex abuse

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.

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican’s U.N. ambassador in Geneva, referred to just one of the statistics in the course of eight hours of oftentimes pointed criticism and questioning from the U.N. human rights committee. The AP obtained the document Friday.

© The Canadian Press, 2014

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