Friday, May 20, 2011

Priest Abuse Scandal and John Jay College Study

Regarding the John Jay College study , Archbishop Dolan made the point up front in his statement that the Catholic Church is the only professional agency to commission a study that looks into the whys and wherefores of sexual abuse of minors.   The prevalence of sexual abuse in families, schools and other institutions of our society certainly doesn't absolve priests of their wrongdoing, but the fact that the media continually points the finger at the Catholic Church suggests they are overlooking the log in their own eye.  Dolan seems to be unflagging in his reminders to the public at large that the Church has dealt with and is dealing with the abuse scandal.

Back in 2004,  the equally unflagging Catholic League reported that less than 2% of priests have been accused of abusing minors while 2% of athletic coaches nationwide have records of sexual abuse.  The rate of sexual abuse among Protestant clergy is 2%-3%.   This report also cites the 2004 Hofstra University study on sexual abuse by Carol Shakeshaft who comments that sexual abuse is 100 times more likely in the public schools than in the Church.   Why don't we ever hear about that? This article and this one point out the media bias in reporting.  

The John Jay College study (this is apparently the second part, the first having been released in 2004) concludes that there was no one specific cause of abuse in the Catholic Church, not celibacy, not homosexuality.  Rather, the social changes of the 60s and 70s affected priests in much the same way the rest of society was afffected.  Seems to me that begs the question, doesn't it? 

The sexual revolution of the 60s certainly didn't advocate celibacy so that can't be considered a factor, but the 60s did promote a libertine lifestyle and a sexual freedom that, with very little stretch of the imagination, could easily have influenced the acceptance of homosexuals into the seminaries.  Reading the report might disabuse me of my own conviction that homosexuality, as endorsed and promoted by the social revolution of the 60s and then adopted by liberal factions within the Church in the post-Vatican II days, lies somewhere at the bottom of the priest abuse scandal.  By the way, most studies report that 80%-90% of victims in the case of the Church were adolescent boys, not girls, not young children. 

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