4,000 cases of Catholic priests abusing kids probed

More than 4,000 cases of Catholic priests sexually abusing children have been investigated in the past one decade, said a top churchman in the Vatican city.

Cardinal Joseph William Levada revealed about the shocking extent of the worldwide scandal at a Vatican conference, the Sun reported Wednesday.

He admitted it is a "dramatic increase" in comparison to the 3,000 in last 50 years previously suspected.

Addressing 100 international clergies, he said the Catholic church has an obligation to report paedophile priests to the authorities.

There have been cases in Ireland and elsewhere of bishops "dragging their heels" in naming offenders.

Cardinal Levada said Pope Benedict XVI wanted help for abuse victims to be a priority.

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