With the Catholic priest abuse scandal in the news again, someone needs to list key facts that the media never tell us about. The best studies I've seen on the subject have been produced by a John Jay College (CUNY) research team.
1. The abuse epidemic started in the 1960s, peaked in the 1970s, and has fallen off dramatically since. Have you noticed how the victims you've seen interviewed are typically people in their 50s? Most victims didn't come forward until decades had passed since their abuse.
2. The researchers point to the liberal sexual culture of the 60s and 70s to help explain the epidemic. They hypothesize that the behavior of priests and the soft response reflected the broader culture.
3. Over the 60 year period of the study, four percent of priests were accused of sexual abuse. This is the same prevalence typically seen among institutions that care for kids. The prevalence peaked in the 60s and the 70s, fell sharply in the 80s, and has remained at a much lower level. Media and law enforcement attention has been inversely correlated with the problem.
4. Most of the accused priests were accused of a single instance of abuse. Chronic, repeat offenders were less common, so the prevalence of hardcore predators is much less than 4%.
5. The typical victim was a 12-14 year old boy. Many older teen boys were also victims. Seminarians were also sexually assaulted by priests. Girls are typically at greatest risk of sexual abuse, but this has been a male-targeted phenomenon.
The Church should have turned all credible accusations over to law enforcement and should have advocated that offenders rot in jail. Offenders should never have been reassigned and given access to children again. That is the conservative approach to pedophilia, but the Church, like all major institutions, is not conservative. These people didn't seem to believe that human nature is fallen and prone to depravity.
Since humans are by nature sinners, and men especially so with respect to sexual matters, why would you ever have a policy of allowing men to be alone with children?
Instead, you see a problem that happens all the time in male professions, say, with police, for example: men go easy on their buddies when they act in unacceptable ways. And priests could conveniently fall back on Christian forgiveness and liberal approaches to treating pedophiles to rationalize going easy on buddies.
Priests tell us they will be judged by God more harshly than the rest of us, and I certainly hope they will be because no atheist could ever damage the Church like these priests have done.
And, of course, elites and the Media are salivating over this story since what could be more damaging to the Institution That Is the Embodiment of All That is Evil? (Of course, the liberal Francis is softening them up a bit.)
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