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Catholic clergy
6 times more likely to abuse kids


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#1 BetteBoop

Posted 20 October 2012 - 10:01 AM

According to data, catholic clergy members are much more likely to abuse kids than any other denomination.

http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/victoria/c...1019-27vqi.html

Do people have theories as to why one faith would have what appears to be endemic rates of child sexual abuse?

#2 LynnyP

Posted 20 October 2012 - 10:09 AM

Cultural factors are very strong factors for most human behaviour.  From my understanding, which is fuelled only by what I have read in newspapers, the catholic church has had a long history where such abuse was protected and ignored - which as all parents know is tacit approval.

#3 BetteBoop

Posted 20 October 2012 - 10:09 AM

Madame Catty, you're not normally a shrinking violet. I'm surprised.

#4 Lucrezia Borgia

Posted 20 October 2012 - 10:11 AM

Hmm...interesting topic....

Well I for one think it is a strange and artificial environment for men (and to a lesser extent women) to be in, to commit to a life with no sex, no marriage, no kids....I think it may attract a type of person who is struggling with their sexuality, or who has very negative or warped views on sex (due to years of indoctrination) ...so that, coupled with the secretive nature of the church, unfettered access to children where the priest is in a position of power, where questions are not encouraged but rather obedience or indeed submission is demanded...I think makes for some very ripe conditions for this type of sexually devious behaviour...

Just my thoughts, I have nothing to back this theory up (lapsed Presbyterian here , married to a lapsed catholic who had an abusive priest at his school....)

#5 Princess.cranky.pants

Posted 20 October 2012 - 10:12 AM

rolleyes.gif Cue all the predictable comments about celibacy and how it encourages pedophilia.

Edited by Princess.cranky.pants, 20 October 2012 - 10:15 AM.


#6 Becstarinator

Posted 20 October 2012 - 10:16 AM

Honestly I believe it has a lot to do with the celibate rules they try and live by.  Not a lot of other religions (well christian) religions expected that.  

You can be a minister/rabi and have a wife and family so maybe it accounts for some of it.

#7 Lucrezia Borgia

Posted 20 October 2012 - 10:19 AM

QUOTE (Princess.cranky.pants @ 20/10/2012, 10:12 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
rolleyes.gif Cue all the predictable comments about celibacy and how it encourages pedophilia.

Well ok, I'll cop to that, but maybe these comments are so predictable because the link is so obvious...? What was the rate in the OP...6 times more likely? Something's going on....

#8 LynnyP

Posted 20 October 2012 - 10:21 AM

To cut right to the chase, I think the catholic church hierarchy have encouraged child abuse by their stance on protecting their clergy and demonising the victims.  Eyeroll yourself silly on that one.

#9 purplekitty

Posted 20 October 2012 - 10:28 AM

QUOTE (LynnyP @ 20/10/2012, 10:21 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
To cut right to the chase, I think the catholic church hierarchy have encouraged child abuse by their stance on protecting their clergy and demonising the victims.  Eyeroll yourself silly on that one.
This.
The behaviour has been enabled and protected leading to an environment where it can thrive.



#10 BetteBoop

Posted 20 October 2012 - 10:32 AM

QUOTE (Lucretia Borgia @ 20/10/2012, 10:19 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Well ok, I'll cop to that, but maybe these comments are so predictable because the link is so obvious...? What was the rate in the OP...6 times more likely? Something's going on....


I agree something is going on, but I don't think there's any established link between celibacy and pedophilia.

In the general populace most child abusers are men in heterosexual relationships. There are higher (reported) rates of abuse in this group than amongst Catholic clergy members. Presumably heterosexual relationships aren't the cause of abuse, so I wonder why we assume celibacy is the cause amongst clergy.

#11 MarigoldMadge

Posted 20 October 2012 - 10:35 AM

I thought the higher rate was due to the fact that Catholics run far more schools/kids groups etc that other Christian faiths, that all Catholic primary schools are generally attached to a parish and allows any errant priest more access.

So that being Catholic in itself doesn't mean you're more likely to abuse, but as a Catholic priest you are more likely to have regular access to children.

eta I was raised Catholic, and what with reconciliation, first communion, confirmation, regular school masses at our attached parish, I had regular and sustained contact with our priest.

Eta 2 The priest at my primary school/parish, his house was right next door to the school entrance and I remember regularly seeing him his garden, front porch and we'd always say hello on the way to school. He was an awesome priest and I don't want to cast any disperations on him, but if he was an abuser, the opportunity that structure would provide for access to victims would be immense.

Edited by haras1972, 20 October 2012 - 10:51 AM.


#12 Lucrezia Borgia

Posted 20 October 2012 - 10:38 AM

QUOTE (BetteBoop @ 20/10/2012, 10:32 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I agree something is going on, but I don't think there's any established link between celibacy and pedophilia.

In the general populace most child abusers are men in heterosexual relationships. There are higher (reported) rates of abuse in this group than amongst Catholic clergy members. Presumably heterosexual relationships aren't the cause of abuse, so I wonder why we assume celibacy is the cause amongst clergy.

Well I guess I was coming at it from the angle that celibacy is the one thing unique to the catholic clergy (I may be wrong on that.....among Christian denominations anyway), so if the stat is that it is higher in catholic circles than in other Christian denominations, then perhaps celibacy can be singled out as a contributing factor. But you're right, celibacy in and of itself does not "cause" pedophilia ...it just may be one factor among many that contributes to this type of behaviour....as you will only see celibacy as an expectation in the catholic faith, that could be the reason why it is 6 times more likely to occur than in, say, the Anglican church (but of course abuse is rife across all the established faiths ....)

#13 Magi Ianthe

Posted 20 October 2012 - 10:43 AM

I think that possibly the church attracts people that are struggling with sin so it is more a case of paedophiles entering the church than the church creating them.

#14 Oriental lily

Posted 20 October 2012 - 10:47 AM

Are young catholic paedophiles attracted to join the clergy due to the opportunities and protection?

This is what I wonder.

Because anything else would mean that there is the same amount of potential paedophiles in any group of professions. And you would have similar incidences if they had the opportunities and protection than the catholic hierarchy has given.


I can not swallow that.


Or is it that also that paedophiles  are attracted  to the priesthood due to them naturally preffering to be celibate due to no interest in engaging with sex in a adult relationship.

Either way the whole thing is sickening.
The abuse is horrible. But the systematic protection and shushing up of the perpetrators and victims is just as bad.



#15 Princess.cranky.pants

Posted 20 October 2012 - 10:49 AM

QUOTE (Lucretia Borgia @ 20/10/2012, 10:19 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Well ok, I'll cop to that, but maybe these comments are so predictable because the link is so obvious...? What was the rate in the OP...6 times more likely? Something's going on....


Sorry. I didn't am that at you... you posted while I was writing that. It's just in these threads the celibacy thing is always blamed and it bugs me.

I have a few close friends who are priests and it's horrible to suggest they will become abusers because they can't marry. A man doesn't become an abuser because they can't marry!

We should remember that abusers are most commonly married men who are known to the child. A family member or friend, not a priests.

#16 Froyo

Posted 20 October 2012 - 10:56 AM

I think pedophiles are attracted to the Catholic clergy due to the forementioned culture of hushing up abuse and demonising victims.

#17 Lucrezia Borgia

Posted 20 October 2012 - 10:57 AM

QUOTE (Princess.cranky.pants @ 20/10/2012, 10:49 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Sorry. I didn't am that at you... you posted while I was writing that. It's just in these threads the celibacy thing is always blamed and it bugs me.

I have a few close friends who are priests and it's horrible to suggest they will become abusers because they can't marry. A man doesn't become an abuser because they can't marry!

We should remember that abusers are most commonly married men who are known to the child. A family member or friend, not a priests.

No that's ok, I think this topic by its very nature is going to get quite heated! And I realize it is not as simple as saying...well, catholic priests are celibate so celibacy is the problem.....but the statistic of 6 times more likely is quite astonishing (IMO), I think the reasons given by PPs, such as the church turning a blind eye, demonising the victims etc are more like to be the root cause, but you would get this too in the Anglican system for example....so I guess it is tempting to look to something unique to the catholic church - such as celibacy- as being the root of the problem...or one of many roots.....ergh...sorry , too sleep deprived to make much sense at the moment...

#18 Maple Leaf

Posted 20 October 2012 - 10:58 AM

QUOTE (Ianthe @ 20/10/2012, 10:43 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I think that possibly the church attracts people that are struggling with sin so it is more a case of paedophiles entering the church than the church creating them.



My uncle is a Catholic priest and he feels like Ianthe. Also there is the unlimited access to kids, and the subsequent protection within the church if caught.


#19 Literary Lemur

Posted 20 October 2012 - 10:59 AM

QUOTE (Princess.cranky.pants @ 20/10/2012, 11:12 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
rolleyes.gif Cue all the predictable comments about celibacy and how it encourages pedophilia.



QUOTE (BetteBoop @ 20/10/2012, 11:32 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I agree something is going on, but I don't think there's any established link between celibacy and pedophilia.

In the general populace most child abusers are men in heterosexual relationships. There are higher (reported) rates of abuse in this group than amongst Catholic clergy members. Presumably heterosexual relationships aren't the cause of abuse, so I wonder why we assume celibacy is the cause amongst clergy.


So what do the priests think is going on?  I always wondered why the church doesn't do more given the behaviour of the few individuals reflect badly on the church and all priests.

I would have thought it would attract pedaphiles as it would seem to fit their needs just perfctly.  No-one will question why they aren't in a relationship and they have access to children.  And the church has a history of not reporting offences to police and protecting the accused priests.

#20 Jane Jetson

Posted 20 October 2012 - 11:03 AM

It's probably multifactorial.

I would suspect that for some people struggling with a non-standard sexuality, a situation where celibacy is expected could be attractive, particularly if the intent is to remain true to that vow. Not everyone can live up to that intent, regardless of which group they're attracted to.

That's not to say celibacy causes you to leap on the first person you see one day; it's a suspicion that some people who are afraid they may be attracted to children may choose a lifestyle where celibacy is not questioned.

I would also suspect that for some people who have no intention of remaining celibate but who are attracted to children or other vulnerable people, the priesthood could be a good place to hide, particularly given the strong pastoral ties and interaction with parish members priests have, the position of authority and the culture of the institution which enables offenders. FOr some people, part of that may be a power thing, given sexual assault is so related to power, not attraction.

#21 Maple Leaf

Posted 20 October 2012 - 11:03 AM

QUOTE
I always wondered why the church doesn't do more



They are going broke now. http://ncronline.org/news/accountability/m...file-bankruptcy

Poor darlings (sarcasm).



#22 Jane Jetson

Posted 20 October 2012 - 11:04 AM

QUOTE (Ianthe @ 20/10/2012, 11:43 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I think that possibly the church attracts people that are struggling with sin so it is more a case of paedophiles entering the church than the church creating them.


Dang it, someone already put it in plain English rather than my woffling.

#23 StopTheGoats

Posted 20 October 2012 - 11:10 AM

QUOTE (LynnyP @ 20/10/2012, 11:21 AM)
15008734[/url]']
To cut right to the chase, I think the catholic church hierarchy have encouraged child abuse by their stance on protecting their clergy and demonising the victims.  Eyeroll yourself silly on that one.


This. Also the unfettered access provided to children who are often in vulnerable circumstances.

I have to wonder if typically the forced repression of healthy human behaviors leads to disordered behaviour. Historically, many men were expected or pressured to take the cloth. It's one thing to enter into a behaviour willingly, with your eyes open and your heart in it. It's entirely another to fight yourself the whole way. There are people who are celibate for any number of reasons but I wonder whether personal agency is the differentiating factor.

I have absolutely no explanation for the choices of those who were not pedophiles but who covered up the abuse and provided tacit approval. Thats unfathomable to me.

Edited by JuniorSpies, 20 October 2012 - 11:12 AM.


#24 Ally'smum

Posted 20 October 2012 - 11:28 AM

As a lapsed Catholic I stuggle to understand just how much people held priests in esteem (similar to they way they did doctors) in the past. I can't understand it myself but what I have heard from parents and grandparents, the priest was such an authority figure. The positions of power they held surely were a mitigating factor. The access they had to children is also really hard for me to understand.

It beggars belief that when parents found out something wrong was going on, they complained to the church (bishops or someone higher up) rather than going to the police.  I also wonder if they went to the police if they didn't hand it back to the church to sort out? (Catholic police have been noted in this enquiry for not acting legally)

I think it is really complex, you have people that have tendencies to abuse, then you put them in a position where they have lot of power, then there is no repercussions for that abuse and on top of that they don't have traditional families or a partner to debrief with and I think 'normal' could be skewed very easily.

I think it is really sad that an organisation that is 90% run by people who aren't priests (normal employed people) is being tarred with this brush. They run schools and do an incredible amount of charity, state and federal governments rely on this, so I guess we all do to an extent.

What bothers me more is that people that a) perpetrated abuse and b) facilitated it are still in their positions and not being held accountable. I won't say his name here but many Catholics cannot stand the most powerful people in the Australian church as they have been implicated in too many cases too many times to be considered innocent.

I know of people who were abused in the 90's (the girls would have been in their mid-thirties now), their lives have been lost or ruined, their families have been destroyed, the priest was found guilty and served a short sentence before dying in custody.
The teacher who let them go to 'alter service practice' has had her career destroyed. Unbelievable that this was happening in the 90s, but the people who knew this priest's history and moved him around are still within the church.

Hopefully all this attention will bring about cultural change within a large organisation that does so much charity wise.


#25 Guest_Sunnycat_*

Posted 20 October 2012 - 11:35 AM

I think it's most likely cultural with a long history of child abuse and the protection and secrecy and acceptance within the church has allowed it to perpetuate.




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