Limitations of Clergy Sexual Abuse Report


I haven’t gotten through the report itself yet, but there has been some welcome clarification on one point:

The researchers conclude that there is no causative relationship between either celibacy or homosexuality and the sexual victimization of children in the Church. Therefore, being celibate or being gay did not increase the risk of violating children. So, blaming the clergy abuse crisis in the Catholic Church on gay men or celibacy is unfounded.

Psychologists (and LGBT persons) have realized that this was the case, and despite their protestations, certain bishops and Cardinals have placed the responsibility for the sex abuse scandal squarely in the laps of gay priests. Not so. Completely refuted and repudiated.

Hopefully, for the last time.

Yeah, you’re right. Religious homophobes are unlikely to let this go….

The NCR has an excellent synopsis- and gives a critical eye:

Release of the John Jay College study on the causes of sexual abuse by Catholic priests signals the end of the U.S. bishops’ five-year, $1.8 million inquiry into the institution they govern and the priests in their charge. But the new study hardly quiets the fundamental questions that have dogged the church and its leaders since the crisis was first publicized in the mid-1980s.

The conclusions of the study were immediately challenged by victims of abuse, their advocates, and those who maintain an enormous archive of documentation related to the scandal. Among the reasons they say the report should be approached with caution or skepticism:

  • Questions persist about the reliability of the basic data that underpins both the most recent study, as well as one on the nature and scope of the scandal that was released in 2004, because the researchers relied principally on reporting by bishops. The reliability of such reporting is called into question on a number of fronts and was most recently challenged by a grand jury report that claimed that officials of the Philadelphia archdiocese had not reported dozens of credibly accused priests. Doubts about the reliability of the numbers were even given credibility by one of the John Jay researchers in a recent interview.
  • The conclusion that priests’ behavior was influenced by and reflected turmoil in American culture during the 1960s and 1970s is called into question, or at least qualified, say experts, given revelations of similar widespread scandals in the United Kingdom and several European countries. The dimensions of the scandal in those countries surfaced in recent months, at a point when the John Jay researchers were concluding research on the U.S. church.
  • The lack of any in-depth look at institutional dynamics, particularly clerical/hierarchical culture, an element some think is integral to understanding why and how abuse of children was covered up and tolerated for so many years.

Beyond the limited dimensions of the study — it covered the years 1950 through 2010 and concentrated on the behavior of priests — questions persist about the bishops’ role in protecting perpetrators and shuffling abusive priests.

Read the full story here. And when you hear that this crisis was precipitated by gay priests- you can comfortably tell anyone spreading this lie that they’re full of shit.