Monday, January 12, 2015

Celibacy Does Not Lead to Sexual Abuse

From Crisis:
There is in fact absolutely no evidence whatsoever that child sex abuse perpetrated by Catholic clergy has anything at all to do with celibacy. The problem is just as bad—I repeat, just as bad—in the Church of England, most of whose clergy are married. It is worse in society at large. That is a conclusion confimed in a report commissioned by the American Catholic Bishops and published in 2011, carried out by the non-Catholic John Jay College of Criminal Justice (part of the City University of New York). The New York Times commented that “since the scandal broke, conservatives in the Church have blamed gay priests for perpetrating the abuse, while liberals have argued that the all-male, celibate culture of the priesthood was the cause. This report will satisfy neither flank.” The report concluded that neither the all-male celibate priesthood nor homosexuality were to blame. Rather, the report said, the abuse occurred because priests who were poorly prepared and monitored, and were under stress, landed amid the social and sexual turmoil of the 1960s and 70s. The problem in the American Church has in fact greatly diminished since then; furthermore, says the report, “despite the media focus on child sexual abuse by Catholic priests, it is clear that these abuse acts are a small percentage of all child sexual abuse incidents in the United States.”

However, as Dr Pravin Thevathasan, author of The Catholic Church & the Sex Abuse Crisis, published by the CTS in 2011, says of the situation here, “It is true that the abuse of minors is rife within society. But we claim, by the grace of God, to be members of the one Church founded by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and we are therefore called to a higher standard than that found in society at large. We are called by our Holy Father [Pope Benedict] to enter a period of purification and repentance.”

He opened his report with the same reflection: “In this work, no excuses will be offered in order to justify the appalling crime of sexual abuse perpetrated by a small number of Catholic priests—about two to four per cent credible accusations in the United States and less than this in the United Kingdom in the last forty years—nor for the pastoral negligence of some bishops. To quote Pope Benedict, sexual abuse has ‘profoundly wounded people in their childhood, damaging them for a whole lifetime’.” (Read more.)

1 comment:

Hans Georg Lundahl said...

It was just as bad in CoE in 1830, when Cobbett wrote.

Perhaps that Catholic crisis is about too much ecmenism?