09 April 2010

Catholic Priest = Child Molester?

from the otherwise reprehensible Newsweek:

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The Catholic sex-abuse stories emerging every day suggest that Catholics have a much bigger problem with child molestation than other denominations and the general population. Many point to peculiarities of the Catholic Church (its celibacy rules for priests, its insular hierarchy, its exclusion of women) to infer that there's something particularly pernicious about Catholic clerics that predisposes them to these horrific acts. It's no wonder that, back in 2002—when the last Catholic sex-abuse scandal was making headlines—a Wall Street Journal-NBC News poll found that 64 percent of those queried thought Catholic priests "frequently'' abused children.
Yet experts say there's simply no data to support the claim at all. No formal comparative study has ever broken down child sexual abuse by denomination, and only the Catholic Church has released detailed data about its own. But based on the surveys and studies conducted by different denominations over the past 30 years, experts who study child abuse say they see little reason to conclude that sexual abuse is mostly a Catholic issue. "We don't see the Catholic Church as a hotbed of this or a place that has a bigger problem than anyone else," said Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. "I can tell you without hesitation that we have seen cases in many religious settings, from traveling evangelists to mainstream ministers to rabbis and others."

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The good news:  Catholic priests do not molest children at rates higher than other ministers.

The bad news:  Catholic priests molest children at rates comparable to other ministers.

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8 comments:

  1. Excellent post! I just linked to it.
    Blessings!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Many point to peculiarities of the Catholic Church (its celibacy rules for priests, its insular hierarchy, its exclusion of women) to infer that there's something particularly pernicious about Catholic clerics that predisposes them to these horrific acts.

    Hear hear. If reporters stuck to the facts, then any Catholic pointing to other institutions or denominations rates of abuse could be rightly denounced as changing the subject and tu quoque. As it is however, most reporting just can't resist the urge to connect it to something unique to Catholic teaching or practice, which of course opens the door to fair comparisons.

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  3. But do Catholic priests molest at rates that even come close to those of public schoolteachers? There is an endless stream of stories in the news about public schoolteachers getting caught with students. (I can't get over how many we've had just in Idaho, which has fewer people in the whole state than there are in some big cities.) Yet I don't hear anybody gleefully sounding the death knell for the public school system.

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  4. Anonymous7:23 PM

    The sad truth is Father, that the scandals are not due to pedophilia, but homosexuality, as most of the victims were post pubescent boys. Yet the media refuses to even hint that this might be in any way connected with homosexuality. Instead, they blame the institution of the Priesthood and the discipline of celibacy.
    God bless.

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  5. LudiDomestici8:58 PM

    Pope covers for child rapist:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/10/world/europe/10pope.html?hp

    Of course, this won't get posted.

    Says volumes.

    So pathetic.

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  6. Ludi, what won't get posted?

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  7. Fr Z has a look at the post Ludi is talking about.

    http://wdtprs.com/blog/2010/04/ap-throwing-more-spaghetti-at-pope-benedict-this-time-from-california/#comment-198103

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  8. David DelaCruz11:33 AM

    Where's the anger for the dead babies crying out for mercy?
    Attention American News Media - with all your focus and verbal anger towards the Catholic Church for abuses of children, why don't I see this same anger being focused towards pro-choice advocates who are actually murdering children by the millions every year. Where's your anger towards abortionists for the killing of millions of babies? It seems to me that you the American News Media live by a double standard, wouldn't you say?

    ReplyDelete