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Study shows high correlation between homosexual priests, clerical abuse

November 02, 2018

A new study from the Ruth Institute has demonstrated a high correlation between the proportion of homosexuals in the Catholic priesthood and the incidence of sexual abuse by the clergy.

The study conducted by Father Paul Sullins, a Catholic University sociologist, found that the percentage of homosexual men in the priesthood has risen sharply. The study also found a disturbing increase in the number of sexual-misconduct reports lodged against priests since 2010, “amidst signs of complacency by Church leaders.” The incidence of new charges (as opposed to charges involving alleged misconduct in past years) is now nearly as high as in the 1970s.

An earlier study by the John Jay College, commissioned by the US bishops’ conference, had denied a connection between homosexuality and clerical abuse. But the John Jay study had not examined the change in the number of homosexuals entering the priesthood. Father Sullins, using data from the same report, shows a very strong statistical correlation between a rise in the proportion of homosexuals in the priesthood and the number of abuse charges.

The rise in the proportion of homosexual priests has been striking, the Ruth Institute study found. In the 1950s, the homosexual presence within the American Catholic priesthood was estimated to be roughly twice that of the overall population; by the 1980s, it was eight times the level of the overall population. To buttress this estimate, the study notes that the number of young priests who reported encountering a homosexual subculture in the seminary doubled between the 1960s and 1980s.

Father Sullins estimates that if the proportion of homosexual priests had remained that the level of the 1950s, the surge in abuse might not have occurred and “at least 12,000 fewer children, mostly boys, would have suffered abuse.” In an interview with the National Catholic Register, the priest-sociologist acknowledged that his report will be criticized as hostile to homosexuals. But he said: “I would say that if it’s a choice between being called homophobic and allowing more young boys to be abused, I would choose to be at risk for being called homophobic.”


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  • Posted by: rhahn9598209 - Nov. 07, 2018 1:03 AM ET USA

    If those in charge of the seminaries are homosexual, then doesn't it make sense they would be more likely to choose other homosexuals rather than heterosexuals to enter the seminary?

  • Posted by: bernie4871 - Nov. 06, 2018 4:54 PM ET USA

    8 times 2% = 16% of the priests are "gay", according to one seemingly competent survey. 8 times 10% = 80%, 10% being a commonly touted number from other accepted sources. I think there are a lot of effeminate priests, judging by the way they present themselves, and that is a strictly personal observation, but 80% is absurd. And what difference does it make anyway other than the fact they shouldn't have been allowed to receive Holy Orders.

  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Nov. 03, 2018 11:18 AM ET USA

    As is the case in certain communities of science, so too is the case among certain clergy that someone's _interpretation_ trumps the data from observations. For example, a more sober look at global and U.S. temperature data from the 1800s onward has resulted in less public emphasis on model projections, many of which have been found to _not_ agree with actual temperature observations. The John Jay data have been interpreted through a certain bias; the Ruth Institute study is more forthright.

  • Posted by: DanS - Nov. 02, 2018 10:29 PM ET USA

    Meaning no disrespect to Fr Sullins, but DUH!!

  • Posted by: pmmillison469380 - Nov. 02, 2018 6:42 PM ET USA

    The Church became a safe haven for homosexuals,where they would have a comfortable life and opportunity to meet others who share their disorder.