Surprise! Catholic Church whitewashes priest pedophilia

May 25, 2011 • 5:48 am

Miranda Hale’s been on a break from posting, but has come back with a doozy, an analysis—”A worthless and dangerous report“— of the 143-page report by The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (link to the report is on her post).  You might have heard that this report is something of a whitewash, for it pins the pervasive sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests not on the priests themselves, but on the permissiveness and “deviant” behaviors of the Sixties and Seventies.  But it’s even worse than you thought.  Miranda has a thorough (but not overly long) analysis, so go read it.

The three things that horrified me the most (and there are many things to criticize) were these:

1.  The report seems to have been almost entirely financed by the Church itself or by Catholic organizations.  Half the funding came from the conference itself, and much of the rest from groups like the Knights of Columbus.  Now this does not necessarily discredit the report, for I doubt that any other organizations were willing to do the study, but it’s always a bit worrisome when an organization—particularly one with a history of suppressing information and whitewashing its actions—investigates itself.  And, sure enough, the findings largely exculpate the Church, blaming sexual abuse on the social and sexual climate obtaining several decades ago.  What’s equally worrisome is that much of the data are based on self-reporting by the Church itself: things like its interviews with offending priests and summaries thereof conducted not by outside investigators, but by the Church itself.

2.  If the priests weren’t to blame, what was? As I said, the report implicates the wild and wooly Sixties and Seventies.  Miranda notes that the report

attempt[s] to connect this supposed “peak” in sexual abuse cases (again, remember that all of this data comes from the “censuses” they sent to the dioceses) to the concurrent shift in cultural norms/”social indicators” (36) and rise in “deviant behaviors” (46), primarily “divorce, use of illegal drugs, and crime” (36), arguing that: “[t]he documented rise in cases of abuse in the 1960s and 1970s is similar to the rise in other types of “deviant” behavior in society, and coincides with social change during this time period” (46).

As she points out, this is correlation, not causation (and when was “divorce” a “deviant behavior” equivalent to sexual abuse of a child?).  One might as well also note the rise of moustaches on men during the same era; maybe that had something to do with the abuse, too!  The report further claims that seminaries simply failed to prepare priests-in-training for the social changes of this era.  Well, I was a young man in the sixties and seventies, and I don’t remember that society licensed the sexual abuse of children back then.  Further, I distinctly remember that child pornography, which of course is connected to child sexual abuse, was also seen as a serious crime in those days.

3.  To minimize its malfeasance, the report simply redefines pedophilia as sexual abuse of a child 10 years old or younger.  But the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders—the “DSM,” which is a handbook used by mental-health professionals to diagnose problems—sets the cutoff age at 13.  Granted, any such age is somewhat arbitrary for diagnosing a disorder, but what’s rankling is that the Bishop’s report otherwise relies on the DSM for recognizing the symptoms of pedophilia!

By arbitrarily lowering from 13 to 10 the age at which child abuse is considered pedophilia, the report manages to lower the percentage of “pedophilic” acts from nearly 73% of total abuse to only 22%.  That’s nothing other than a blatant manipulation of data to make the Church seem less culpable.  It’s disgusting.

The more I learn about the Catholic Church, the more I see that, as an institution, it’s so nefarious as to border on evil.  I don’t know how more liberal or open-minded Catholics can, in good conscience, remain in the Church.  Let us see if a sizable number of Catholic laypeople raise a hue and cry about this report.  I doubt it.

And we’re supposed to pat this Church on the back because its official doctrine is friendly to biological evolution?

93 thoughts on “Surprise! Catholic Church whitewashes priest pedophilia

  1. Oh yes, the deviant behaviour of the 60’s and 70’s was to blame without a doubt.

    I clearly remember growing up as a young child in the 70’s, every time I went to the park or popped to the shop for some sweeties I’d be buggered by someone or other.

    Even if this utter BS was true, is it not the job of a priest to say it is wrong and try to put a stop to this immoral behaviour?

    It’s worth noting that our secular law system (UK) had made this act illegal, but priests were apparently unable to resist the sight of a young boy’s buttocks because “everybody does it!”

    Utter crap!

    I apologise for my bad language!

    1. Precisely.

      The Church’s claim to a superior moral vantage point (evidenced by their constant finger-wagging at basically the entire world) simply evaporates when they simultaneously claim to be have been unable to prevent the prevailing attitudes of the time (such as are claimed) from unduly infecting their flock, or to put a stop to behaviour which resulted from said infection.

      To paraphrase Stephen Fry, if the Church is as subject to influence from the moral zeitgeist as any other entity, instead of providing a moral beacon in times of moral darkness, what the holy fuck are they FOR?

  2. The problem with the report is that it fails to analyze the church as an organization, or take note of what happened to the priesthood during those organizational changes fostered by Vatican II and other mid-20th century reforms. I agree that divorce and marital trends played a very strong role in the development of a pedophile culture in the priesthood. The church became more accepting of divorce and remarriage, which meant that heterosexual priests no longer had gaggles of fawning women in loveless marriages in need of “ministry.” Indeed, heterosexual priests left the priesthood in droves! They married the abandoned women they had been banging! The priest shortage made the Church desperate–and they began to look the other way when inappropriate motivations for joining the priesthood were expressed by seminarians. Indeed, given the turnover of priests, it didn’t take long before the pedophile perverts were pretty much in control of many of the seminaries and parishes. So, yes, normal human sexuality played a strong role in the crisis. Normal people left the priesthood, and they were replaced by pedophiles.

    1. To be clear, the exit of heterosexual priests left two groups–gay priests and pedophiles. They are not the same or overlapping, but there isn’t squat the gay ones can do against the pedophiles. If a gay priest tries to reign in an abuser, the pedophile will rat out the gay priest–to the Bishops there is no difference.

    2. Bullshit. Just plain fucking bullshit. It’s been going on for most of the church’s history.

      So stop your hippie punching. It’s stupid and wrong.

      1. Read on – he wasn’t hippie punching. He’s saying that liberalization of attitudes toward divorce made the priesthood less attractive to men who were attracted to adult women – adult married Catholic women in particular.

        I don’t think it’s true, but it was funny!

    3. I agree that divorce and marital trends played a very strong role in the development of a pedophile culture in the priesthood.

      Evidence required.

    4. “I agree that divorce and marital trends played a very strong role in the development of a pedophile culture in the priesthood.”

      Well, good God, yes, let’s put the blame where it properly belongs. On women. You do understand, don’t you, that that’s what the Church means, when it blames divorce and marital trends for protecting its pedophiles?

    5. To all who are getting upset here, this post looks to me to be a parody, rather than an expression of the author’s actual opinions. I could be wrong, of course, but doesn’t it seem to you just a *little* over the top?

    6. So this may be wild speculation on Darren’s part, but I’m blown away by the reactions that this is “blaming women” or “hippie punching”. Darren’s hypothesis here is that an increased tolerance for some types of normal sexual behavior (teh geys still need not apply!) in the Catholic laity led to a depletion of sexually healthy heterosexual priests in the priesthood, creating an increased concentration of homosexual priests (no problem) and sexually unhealthy priests (uh oh…). That might be total BS, but I don’t see how one gets “blaming women” or “hippie punching” out of that!

      1. I guess I can see how you can get “blaming women” out of it if you really stretch, but I don’t think Darren was implying that the newly-divorced Catholic women he hypothesized married ex-priests were doing anything wrong. Quite the contrary, I think the point was that these ex-priests and newly-divorced women were behaving in a normal and healthy way which had not previously been tolerated by the Catholic church.

        The idea is that if you switch from a situation of “Unreasonable sexual restrictions on laity and clergy alike” to “Unreasonable sexual restrictions on clergy, less so on laity”, that is going to change what sorts of people choose to enter the priesthood, i.e. it will proportionally increase the number of people whose sexual predilections would be tolerated neither under the unreasonably restrictive clergy regime nor the less restrictive laity regime.

        It’s speculation for sure, and could be total BS… but it’s not an implied criticism of women or hippies, it’s an implied criticism of the continued unreasonable sexual restrictions in priests!

        1. I read Darren the same way, James. Thanks for taking the time to make the case.

          Let’s be sure we read beyond the first sentence before rushing to respond, folks. I thought he was pretty clear.

          1. Thanks, didn’t mean to cause a stir, and it is a bit over the top…As for evidence, you can’t understand the 1960s-70s in the American Catholic Church without reading Schoenherr and Young’s work on the priest shortage (or Wittberg on Catholic orders in general). Yes, the church did change its position on divorce and remarriage–a simple chart of rates of marital absolution in the US shows the huge spike. Only the most conservative Priests and Bishops will refuse even the flimsiest basis for absolution, which then enables remarriage. And, yes, I have interview data on the gay-child rapist problem taken from interviews I conducted with gay priests in the 1990s, and I’ve been told the overall story of the transition by several former priests and nuns, including sociologists Jim Davidson, Bill D’Antonio, Gullermina Jasso, and Helen Rose Ebaugh (all of whom married and left orders in that period).

            1. Huh. Goes to show you never can tell what kind of strange ideas people will take seriously. In any case, what would be nice here, if this is to hold any water, is some statistics beyond just the spike in the annulment rates. The personal communications thing might be interesting, but it’s not really definitive. Do Schoenherr and Young actually provide data that backs up what you’re suggesting, or just anecdotes?

    7. “The church became more accepting of divorce and remarriage,”

      It did? So far as I know, it still does not allow divorce, but the legal fiction of “annullment” where a marriage is deemed to have never happened, even if there are children, is almost as good.

      As well as leaving the priesthood, haven’t there been a lot of people leaving the Church? They don’t have to offer their resignation, just stop going, and more importantly, stop paying.

  3. That’s funny, but the Catholic Church has been dealing with this issue for most of its 2,000 year history. And, mostly, how they’ve been dealing with it is hiding it. At least since the 1500’s when it was put under seal by the then pope. (Prior to that the Papal decree was to turn peodophile priests over to the local authorities.)

    There’s a quick video here:

    I ran into this a few days ago. Most of it I already knew.

  4. We really should stop using the euphemism “pedophilia” and start calling it what it is: child rape. Being sexually attracted to children (which is what the word suggests) is one thing, acting on it is another.

  5. and of course the report shows that the catholic church *still* does not understand the real problem. Or maybe they do understand and they’re refusing to address it.

    The real problem being not that there are pedophile priests but that the church *knew* about it and covered it up.

    This report doesn’t even rise to the level of whitewash, it’s only purpose is to confuse the issue. To get people to talk about something other than the real problem.

    1. They understand the real problem.

      The real problem is that the world no longer falls on its knees at their command, and insists that they be held accountable like a bunch of commoners.

      “You want a report? We’ll give you a report. ‘Blah-blah-blah, disco is the devil, blah-blah-blah.’ There. There’s your damn report. Now give us back our absolute power!

  6. So, alongside iron chariots, we can add “Flower Power” to the list of things God and his followers are powerless to resist?

    [Comic Book Guy’s voice]

    Most ineffectual deity ever!

  7. Miranda’s done a thorough job of debunking the report. It’s excellent work. Thank you for helping to give it the widest possible exposure.

    1. I’m still holding out for strangle the last king with the entrails of the last priest day.

      1. Wait—that’s not an official day yet?

        [Calls work to say he’ll be in today after all, then unties Belgium’s King Albert II and starts to suture Cardinal Bertone’s abdomen.]

        I need a better calendar.

  8. Again, I’ll point out that it doesn’t matter what the DSM criteria for pedophilia are.

    The acts of the priests were criminal. Statuatory rape, gross sexual imposition, sodomy, child molestation. Felonies all.

    One does not get to excuse felonies based on either “the times” or diagnostic definitions of disease that parse out the difference between pre- and post-pubescent children.

    To the law, it doesn’t matter. To the law, it’s a crime. And those who abet the criminals by not reporting their actions, by allowing them to continue in their job where they have easy access to vulnerable kids are just as culpable. They should be prosecuted as well.

    We are either a civilization based on laws, or we’re not.

      1. Correct…but we’re not talking about consenting adults.

        By definition, the children involved were under-aged and cannot give informed consent.

  9. By lowering the age of pedophilia to 10 they are not only trying to reduce the number of abuse cases, they are also trying to place the other same-sex offenses in the category of ‘homosexuality,’ which then, in their warped minds, allows them to deflect some blame onto the permissive culture, as they are doing here.

    Such a vile and disgusting mafia….

  10. We shouldn’t be overlooking the complicity of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in this matter, either. Whatever reputation they might’ve had for legitimate research is now gone, sold off for a mere $2 mill.

    1. The report went out under the College’s imprimatur, and that certainly implicates it, but otherwise, (if there is an “otherwise”) is the College complicit?

      1. Well, the College did the ‘research’, though the USCCB had the final say over publication. The research was pretty shoddy, IMO.

  11. Men ordained in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s did not generally abuse before the 1960s or 1970s. Men ordained in the 1960s and the early 1970s engaged in abusive behavior much more quickly after their entrance into ministry (3).

    I’m quite sure this is bullshit, and a slap in the face to people abused prior to the ’60s. There may well, though, have been a peak in reports from the generation who were children in the ’60s and ’70s. It would make sense, and I’d suspect it was related to the liberalization and social movements of those decades. Coming out of that era, people felt less fearful and guilty and more empowered to report their victimization. When the rapes and cover-up became more well-known and the law got involved, it became more difficult for priests (at least in certain countries) to get away with, and the incidence declined.


    The more I learn about the Catholic Church, the more I see that, as an institution, it’s so nefarious as to border on evil.

    It crossed that border a long time ago, blew up the bridge behind it, and refuses to let anyone rebuild.

    I don’t know how more liberal or open-minded Catholics can, in good conscience, remain in the Church.

    They can’t, in good conscience.

    1. I was also thinking that reports peaking in the 70’s might have been a result of people being more comfortable talking about being raped as children, rather than the incidence of rape peaking.

      I was thinking that the incidence may have declined after that because society buttoned up, it was the 80’s when “fag” was one of the worst insults ever, right? And when hippie-punching began in earnest, too. Those hippies, and their attempts to bring their persecutors to justice… All about “Me, Me, Me,” amirite?

      1. Man, if my boyfriend saw that he would totally yell at me for putting apostrophes in decades. My bad :S

        1. Many style books suggest apostrophes in numerals like that and don’t consider it something to be confused with the possessive.

    2. That’s a good point, about liberalism–>feeling more able to talk about it.

      It applies to what the Irish church had been doing to children in industrial “schools,” too. For decade after decade, no one would talk and no one would listen. It needed a more liberal climate for that to start to break down.

    3. There were more children around in the early 60’s! This was the age of the baby boomers, remember? Abuse may be a function of the number of potential victims.

    4. I’m quite sure this is bullshit, and a slap in the face to people abused prior to the ’60s. There may well, though, have been a peak in reports from the generation who were children in the ’60s and ’70s. It would make sense, and I’d suspect it was related to the liberalization and social movements of those decades.

      Excellent point!

  12. If Jesus can’t be arsed to keep the men who’re dishing him out piecemeal every Sunday from raping the people — especially children — they’re serving, then what the fuck good is he?

    This goes way beyond the ivory-tower discussions of “The Problem of Evil.” If the Church is the terrestrial manifestation of Heavenly authority, then that authority is so vilely corrupt — not merely incompetent, but actively evil in an almost-incomprehensible way — that the only moral action for believers is to fight it with all their might, no matter the personal cost to them.

    Don’t give me this “free will” bullshit. A cop has the moral (and legal) obligation to stop crimes in progress, and your gods are supposed to be the ultimate cops with the ultimate surveillance system. They’re supposed to know when the shit is about to hit the fan, and they’re supposed to be able to mop it up before it gets there. A cop who failed to act in a similar situation would be thrown behind bars for criminal conspiracy, and your gods are supposed to have morals even superior to ours.

    And “We can’t possibly stand up to Jesus” and “Satan is worse” don’t cut it, either. In such matters, your moral imperative is to do right or die trying. If Satan is worse, then tough shit: you’ve got powerful enemies on two fronts, and they’re both gonna fuck you over royally. Doesn’t mean you should join them, any more than it would have been right for Switzerland, sandwiched between Hitler and Mussolini, to join the Axis.

    All you non-Catholic Christians? This is your fault, too. Yes, fault. There are more Catholics out there than there are of you, whatever your denomination is. Either your Jesus is the same Jesus as the Catholic Jesus, or your Jesus doesn’t give a flying fuck that the Catholics are raping children in his name (or he’s powerless to do anything about it).

    In a sane society, this wouldn’t only be the end of the Catholic Church, but of all Christianity. To my deepest regret and shame, our society is far from sane.

    <sigh />


    1. I’ve long had the opinion that if Catholicism were a terrestrial, bricks n’ mortar empire instead of a spiritual one, its subjects would have become super-fucking-fed-up with its bullshit and revolted a long time ago, lynching the Emperor in the square, Mussolini-style, for crimes against the people.

      Instead, decent everyday Catholics just sit idly by while their Dear Leaders betray their trust and mock humanity. Most likely out of ignorance, denial, terror-inspired loyalty or any combination of the three.

  13. The Catholic church campaigned fiercely to keep a constitutional ban on divorce in Ireland until the mid 1990s.
    They cannot use the divorce argument in Ireland for that reason. The allegations regarding religious order child abuse in Ireland are mostly from the time period when divorce was illegal and are much lower from the time divorce was made legal. It is still simply correlation rather than causation and probably more associated with the lower numbers of clerics in recent times.

  14. Can the UN launch sanctions against the Vatican until they give up the names and locations of serial child rapists? It’s an international criminal organization. I’m amazed that Italy doesn’t demand the records. Don’t Italian sex-with-a-minor laws apply? Can’t countries extradite pedophiles or witnesses from the Vatican (e.g. Cardinal Bernard Law)?

    1. They could, but everybody’s too scared to do so.

      They’re scared of being accused of engaging in religious persecution.

      They’re scared that their Catholic constituents will vote them out of office in the next election.

      But mostly, they’re scared to admit that the biggest, oldest, and most influential Christian denomination is nothing more than an international crime syndicate with a centuries-old child rape / prostitution scam. Because, if they were to admit that, then they’d have to admit that the whole Jesus-as-superhero myth really is bullshit, and we can’t have people disabusing us of our childish fantasies, now, can we?



      1. I don’t think the RCC is going to change until the Italians take a good long look at what’s been going on in their own country. Having visited the Vatican, I can tell you, all they see is thronging, adoring crowds. If the Italians got really angry, they could just walk into the Vatican and protest, but I feel like what’s more likely to happen is that eventually the disillusionment will hit Italy, and people, rather than fight for an institution, will realize its all just nonsense and stop attending church, rather than trying to throw the crooks in jail or reform.

      2. No, we can’t. Marx was right – religion is the opiate of the masses. And have you ever tried to get between a junkie and his dealer? The junkie will knife you without a second thought.

        As Sam Harris pointed out, the problem isn’t so much the dealers as it is the customer base.

    2. Italian’s current Prime Minister gets a lot of support from the Vatican, and, being the subject of several criminal investigations himself, he’s not about the start promoting the rule of law.

  15. I don’t recall official catholic doctrine being friendly to evolution either. The official doctrine is “evolution happened but goddidit”, which is as worthless as the “goddidit without evolution” line.

    I see the catholic church is as incompetent with its investigations into crimes committed by priests as it is with establishing the existence of the imaginary skydaddy.

    1. Looking at the technical specs, it still appears to be creationism to say that G-Man plodded together his legoes a bit more slowly than over one week.

  16. I don’t know how more liberal or open-minded Catholics can, in good conscience, remain in the Church.

    I made some noise about this a while back on a non-religion/atheism-related blog (in that case it was in the context of one of the Vatican’s other “sins”, but the point was the same) and the answer I got back from liberal Catholics was basically that a sizable fraction of US Catholics already don’t give a shit about the Pope or the Vatican anyway. I guess it makes sense if you think about it: they are culturally Catholic and aren’t going to let go of that, but see the corruption of the central church as much as any of us.

    The problem, of course, is that by nominally self-identifying as Catholic, they are lending implicit support to this evil organization. They don’t see it that way, of course, but… they should.

    1. Yeh it makes sense, but it’s a horrendous mistake.

      And it doesn’t even make sense for someone like Tony Blair. As I keep saying, what he did is simply unpardonable.

    2. Not to mention the money they put in the collection plate, which goes to fund whitewashes like this.

  17. These rapists and rape apologists are the same folks telling people how to live a moral life? If Jesus were around, he would certainly give them an earful:

    “Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Friend, let me take out the speck in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye.”

    Also, perhaps it’s interesting to note that the original NY Times article about this report appeared as “1960s Culture Cited as Cause Of Priest Abuse”. The article now has the blander, less obviously insane title “Church Report Cites Social Tumult in Priest Scandals”. It’s curious is all…

  18. Let us see if a sizable number of Catholic laypeople raise a hue and cry about this report. I doubt it.

    And if they sustain it. There was a hue and cry when the Ryan report was published in 2009; even Madeleine Bunting wondered why she stayed with the church. But it ended quickly.

  19. My problem with it is the danger that Catholics on the fence will accept it as truth and an excuse to remain on their side of the fence as they have for centuries. It also smacks of a message out of Ratzi’s baby, Canon Law. He has studied and mastered the code of Omerta. After I read “The Case of the Pope by Geoffrey Robertson, QC, I decided to research the origin of “the code”. At first I thought the Mafia and then the Vatican had copied it but I have covinced myself
    that “Omerta” originated within the ancient Catholic “Church”. It was shared before their parting with the Eastern Rite because the Greeks, especially in the Islands copied it from the Greek Orthodox Church. Ratzi has promoted it to perfection in modern times and feels no shame in promoting “writings” that most people should recognizes as more Biblical garbage. OMERTA RULES.

  20. Popery and Islam do seem to be in a knock-down, drag-out fight for the title of World’s Worst Religion.

    Good job the Aztec religion isn’t still around too.

    1. Good job the Aztec religion isn’t still around too.

      “The incidents of ripping out the still-beating heart of one’s enemy with obsidian knives peaked during the 1960s and ’70s, and was largely due to the societal upheaval of that era, along with lack of proper human formation curriculum for the high priests.”

  21. For anyone who is interested, I’d definitely suggest downloading the report (.pdf) itself, as there is quite a lot in it that I didn’t write about (for fear of ending up with an insanely long post). I can’t recommend reading the whole thing unless you have a great deal of time on your hands (plus, it’s boring), but it’s definitely worth a quick skim. There are also summaries at the end of each chapter, which provide a pretty good idea of what they covered in each section.

    Other than their arbitrary and sleazy and duplicitous redefinition of “pedophilia”, what struck me the most is their assertion that priests have to be taught that sexually abusing children is wrong. What in the hell? Why wouldn’t they already know that? What adult doesn’t know that? Seriously, that assertion is just insane.

    1. All the stuff they’ve been saying about it makes clear that they don’t already know it, though. That’s part of what people kept falling over with surprise about last year – the way they kept artlessly revealing that they didn’t even know that.

      Calling Karen Armstrong! Calling Karen Armstrong!

      They don’t know shit about compassion.

  22. I’m so confused — I was almost certain I heard somewhere that a belief in god is necessary to ground morality, and that without it people would be raping and killing and stuff. But clearly that can’t be right…

    1. That’s pretty simple to address. Just claim that they don’t believe in god. I’m sure a sophisticated theologist can explain everything. 🙂

  23. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil…”
    They say it every day, and it clearly DOESN’T WORK!

    Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak“.
    I’ve always known that Matthew should have written:
    The flesh is willing, but the spirit is weak“.
    In the present case, it is clear that the flesh has proved more than willing and the spirit is nonexistent.

    If the Roman Catholic Church had wanted to prove that it has been lying to the world since the time of Constantine, it couldn’t have done a better job.

    I’d like to add to the chorus my own thanks to Miranda for an excellent dissection of this nefarious report.

    1. Thinking about what Aqua Buddha says at #21, I realise that I should have said “Jesus should have said”, not “Matthew should have written”. It’s clear that Jesus is just wrong. His recommended prayer doesn’t work, and he’s confused about flesh and spirit.

  24. Age 10 isn’t that unusual for female puberty, but it’s not exactly common.

    A more accurate cutoff would be around 12, based on what I remember from my childhood (I myself had a mustache at 12).

    But while I do think it’s annoying that the word “pedophilia” is thrown around whenever anyone under 18 is involved (it’s just a blatantly wrong characterization most of the time), I don’t see this distinction as being at all important here. We’re talking about the sexual abuse of children. Whether pre-pubescent or post-pubesccent, it’s morally and legally unacceptable.

    It’s a little like trying to excuse a mass murderer by noting that he/she didn’t kill any women or children. Killing just men is OK, and raping just teenagers is fine and dandy.

  25. There were more children around in the 1960’s. It was called the Baby Boom, right? There may well have been more acts of child abuse back then simply because there were more children back then, at least in the U.S.

    I came of age in the late 60’s, and I sure don’t remember looking at kids as sex objects. In fact, that sort of misses the whole point of what “free love” meant back then: there were a whole lot of willing partners.

    1. Yeah, as a proud veteran of the deviant 60’s/70’s, I totally resent this mischaracterization.

      The church could use MORE sex, drugs, & rock ‘n’ roll.

  26. So raping eleven year olds is okay because it doesn’t get to be labelled as pedophilia anymore? So they’re not pedophiles–they’re just rapists!

    Wow, I feel so much better about the church now. What a relief.

    1. So they’re not pedophiles–they’re just rapists!

      They call them “generalists”. Now we have two categories of offenders — “specialists” and “generalists”.

      Specialists are:
      “Pedophiles” — only victims 10 and younger (male and female) — 3.8%
      “Ephebophiles” — only male victims between the ages of 13 and 17 — 18.9%
      Priests with female victims between the ages of 13 and 17 — 5.0%

      Generalists are:
      Priests with at least one victim 12 or younger and at least one victim 15 or older — 30.2%
      All other “generalists” with victims of various ages and genders — 42.1%

      So, one can have sex with boys younger than 12 or even 10, but for as long as he also has sex with 15+ yo, he is no longer a pedophile. He is a “generalist”.

  27. To me this an admission that they don’t really believe in a god who will punish them at death!

  28. Susan Jacoby, in her “Spirited Atheist” WaPo blog, yesterday posted on the same report, not only as an atheist but as a former Catholic acquainted with abusees:

    An unusual, for her, anger stands out.

  29. That theory might, I say might explain the problem in the US but Ireland and Poland? Long stretch when you remember that Poland had a Communist government in the sixties and seventies. Christianity as it stands, cannot be reformed, time to start over.

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