Last week on this blog, someone threw a grenade in the combox. It was one of those unsubstantiated rants, something like, “The Catholic Church should take care of its own business. Priests abuse children with much greater frequency than people in other helping professions (teachers, ministers, etc.)”
It was blatantly untrue, and I called the writer out on it. The incident reminded me, though, just how much some people still take at face value the untruths and misstatements that are thrown around regarding the Catholic priesthood.
In the January/February issue of Catalyst, the newsletter of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, I found a most helpful fact sheet on priestly sexual abuse. I’m reprinting that information here, for the benefit of my readers. I encourage you to visit the website of the Catholic League, to learn more about their work and their public witness on behalf of the Church.
Facts About Priestly Sexual Abuse
Now that Pope Francis has set up a commission to study priestly sexual abuse, Bill Donohue urged reporters to get their facts straight:
Myth: Children have been the main victims of priestly sexual abuse.
Fact: Since more than 95 percent of all the victims of priestly sexual abuse, as reported by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, are not prepubescent, that means that adolescents have been the primary victims.
Myth: Pedophile priests have been the problem.
Fact: Homosexual priests have been the problem. Proof: 81 percent of the victims have been male, and more than 95 percent have been postpubescent. When males have sex with postpubescent males, it is called homosexuality.
Myth: The problem is on-going.
Fact: The homosexual scandal took place mostly between the mid-1960s and the mid-1980s. In the last ten years, the average number of credible accusations made against 40,000 priests is in the single digits.
Myth: The Church’s repressive teachings on sexuality are the problem.
Fact: It was liberals outside the Church who pushed for the sexual revolution, and it was liberals in the Church who abetted the revolution in the seminaries. Moreover, it was liberals who promoted therapy as the way to deal with molesters, instead of using punitive measures.
Myth: The Church has done nothing about the problem.
Fact: Pope Benedict XVI made it more difficult for active homosexual priests to enter the priesthood, thus getting directly to the source of the problem. Also, steps have been taken in every diocese to ensure that anyone who works for the Church must participate in a training program aimed at curtailing the abuse of minors.