Catholic World News

Priests are worst abusers, ex-cleric tells Australian inquiry

October 23, 2012

A former Catholic priest has told an Australian parliamentary inquiry that Catholic clerics are more likely than any other ministers to engage in sexual abuse of children.

Des Cahill told a Victoria state parliamentary commission that at least 1 in 20 priests in the Melbourne archdiocese had been guilty of abuse; he voiced his suspicion that the actual figure might be closer to 1 in 15. Cahill, who is now a professor of intercultural studies, said that the culture of the Catholic priesthood is “verging on the pathological” and incapable of reforming itself. He called for the admission of married men to the priesthood, and suggested that the state should eliminate the Church’s exemption from anti-discrimination laws to ensure that married men are allowed to serve in Catholic priestly ministry.


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  • Posted by: mgreen32234 - Oct. 24, 2012 9:48 AM ET USA

    I bet the abuse data is similar to what happened in the US. Most abusing priests were homosexuals whose victims were young men or teenage boys not little children,not girls. The priesthood is not for men who can't be faithful to their vows.

  • Posted by: chady - Oct. 24, 2012 4:51 AM ET USA

    I think Mr Cahill is deluding himself about a 'fix'for the reformation? of the priesthood. An old friend once told me a bird has only one nest. How can a priest be expected 2 balance 2 vocations of life and the responsibilities 2 the Church and a family? It also assumes the married state would impact on these failings - it could potentially put individuals at greater risk. As a married practising Catholic one vocation is enough for me. Maybe I am the exception?

  • Posted by: hartwood01 - Oct. 23, 2012 9:02 PM ET USA

    From an ex-priest an unreliable statement. Ax-grinding,I imagine.

  • Posted by: geoffreysmith1 - Oct. 23, 2012 5:56 PM ET USA

    In Mr Cahill's less-than-honest opinion. I assume that he has been canvassing the entire priesthood in the Melbourne archdiocese, asking them individually if they have ever abused children. Yeah, right. Having obtained the answer he was looking for, he extrapolated it to cover the whole of Australia! Only the atheist, Julia Gillard, would believe this baloney.

  • Posted by: AgnesDay - Oct. 23, 2012 5:30 PM ET USA

    I am curious where this "professor of intercultural studies" gets his data, and why the interparliamentary commission accepts his opinion on anything.

  • Posted by: shrink - Oct. 23, 2012 3:20 PM ET USA

    I'm surprised that you did not reference in "Additional sources" one of CWN's own articles "Does Celibacy Contribute to Clerical Sex Abuse?" that was published a few years back on this topic. Too bad you left the claims of this ex-priest go uncontested.