If celibacy is the cause, why do non-celibates have the problem?
In Australia, two former Catholic priests have released a report saying that the root causes of sexual abuse by Catholic priests are—the things the two ex-priests don’t like about the Catholic Church. Since what they don’t like about the Catholic Church matches what the secular media don’t like, their report will enjoy plenty of publicity, regardless of its scientific rigor (or lack of same).
Without reading the full report, however, one can make a few observations:
Anglican priests are not bound by a rule of celibacy. Nevertheless the rate of abuse by Anglican priests in Australia is the same as the rate among Catholic priests.
The mayors of 50 different American cities have been accused of sexual abuse of minors. Mayors are not bound by celibacy.
In the US, according to the John Jay report, the rate of sexual abuse by Catholic priests rose dramatically between 1950 and 1975. The teachings of the Church that are cited by the two Australian ex-priests as causes did not change during those years. The enforcement of those teachings definitely did change, as overall discipline was relaxed.
In other words, the aspects of life in the Catholic clergy that the Australian authors find objectionable became less prominent at the time that abuse became more prevalent. That fact by itself does not prove their study wrong, but it should make intelligent readers suspicious.
All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!