For the first time the Roman Catholic Church in Italy has admitted that about 100 cases of paedophile priests have been reported to church authorities during the past 10 years.
But the Italian Catholic bishops' conference refused to reveal how many priests in the country had subsequently been defrocked under canon law.
It also did not say how many priests had been prosecuted by police.
The Church has been under pressure to reveal the secret statistics.
Meanwhile, the public record of the number of cases of paedophile priests prosecuted in Pope Benedict's own backyard continues to grow.
On Monday, a priest in Savona went on trial for alleged sexual violence against a 12-year-old girl.
On Tuesday, a 73-year-old priest in Milan, known for his support of gay rights, was arrested for alleged sexual abuse of a 13-year-old boy.
Last week, an Italian bishop gave evidence for the first time at another trial that he knew about rumours of sexual abuse by a priest two years before his arrest, yet had never reported this to the police.
The Secretary General of the Italian bishops' conference, Monsignor Mariano Crociata, said there was no need for a special church committee to be set up to deal with cases of child molestation by priests as had happened in Germany and other European countries.
And despite the Pope's promise of zero tolerance in the future to crimes of sexual abuse by clergy, the Vatican continues to claim diplomatic immunity from prosecution in lawsuits arising from cases of sexual abuse by priests in the United States.