Thursday, October 1, 2009

Only One And One-Half To Five Percent

From a story in the Guardian from a couple of days ago.

The Vatican has lashed out at criticism over its handling of its paedophilia crisis by saying the Catholic church was "busy cleaning its own house" and that the problems with clerical sex abuse in other churches were as big, if not bigger.

In a defiant and provocative statement, issued following a meeting of the UN human rights council in Geneva, the Holy See said the majority of Catholic clergy who committed such acts were not paedophiles but homosexuals attracted to sex with adolescent males.

The statement, read out by Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican's permanent observer to the UN, defended its record by claiming that "available research" showed that only 1.5%-5% of Catholic clergy were involved in child sex abuse.

He also quoted statistics from the Christian Scientist Monitor newspaper to show that most US churches being hit by child sex abuse allegations were Protestant and that sexual abuse within Jewish communities was common.

He added that sexual abuse was far more likely to be committed by family members, babysitters, friends, relatives or neighbours, and male children were quite often guilty of sexual molestation of other children.

In a nutshell: There aren't that many, it's not just us and it's more likely to happen elsewhere.

I feel better already.

Let's see, there are something like 400,000 priests in the world. If you apply the numbers to today's population, does that mean anywhere from 6,000 to 20,000 could be involved in child sex abuse? Probably not because we've seen how well the church has been "busy cleaning its own house"--well after the fact.


Sherry said...

Ugh. I think Catholics are at a distinct "disadvantage" because of the centralized nature of the church's organization. No other church group has a "head office," as it were, to go to with complaints, so tracking and tallying their ministers' misdeeds is just not possible. No way are priests the only problem pastors. BTW, I've conducted my own quintessentially unscientific research in the last few years--asking as many Catholic/formerly Catholic men as I could if they had personally had a problem with a priest, or if when they were kids if there had been talk about any priests in their area. So far I've talked with one man who says he was abused. One. Not denying or excusing anything at all, but just on my own personal quest for some perspective.

Hank Greer said...

I never had a problem with a priest so you can add another. But the nuns at St Matthews in Topeka were very mean to us kids. I think their order was Our Sisters of Perpetual Pain or something.

Sherry said...

When we were in grade school, the boys all complained that the nuns hated them. Us girls laughed. Until we got to high school, where our nuns hated girls! I guess what goes around...