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probably just a coincidence

By Diogenes (articles ) | Sep 27, 2010

During his visit to the United Kingdom, Pope Benedict XVI met with several victims of sexual abuse. If you looked carefully you could find a few details about the group:

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said the five victims, who he said had not signed confidentiality agreements, comprised four women and one man, aged between 40 and 50 with three from London, one from Yorkshire and a Scot. They were not chosen by the Vatican, the local church had "presented" them.

Four women; one man. We don’t have accurate figures on the sex-abuse victims in Great Britain, but in every country for which the statistics are available, 80% or more of those victims have been male.

If you draw 5 people at random from a pool that is 80% male, what are the odds that 4 of those 5 will be female? A bit better than 1 in 1,000. It could happen, theoretically, but it’s not probable. (It’s roughly 64 times more likely that you’d pick 4 men and 1 woman.)

This group of 5 victims was “presented” by local Church officials, we are told. Why did the British bishops and their staff chose to present the Pontiff with a sampling of victims in which the male-to-female ratio was approximately the opposite of the ratio in the full group?

  1. The UK bishops and their staff selected the victims at random, and it just happened that they chose 4 women. Nobody was trying to fiddle with the male-to-female ratio. Improbable events do sometimes occur.
  2. The UK bishops and their staff realized that most males would wish to be home watching England vs Pakistan during the papal visit, and invited female abuse victims to travel to London because they'd find it less of a burden.  This is the pastoral approach.
  3. The UK bishops and their staff were trying to send a message—or perhaps to make sure that a different message was not received. 

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  • Posted by: New Sister - Sep. 27, 2010 6:50 PM ET USA

    Saint John Fisher - pray for that island.

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