There was much discussion recently of a 79 year old pastor and his married church secretary...an old story. But too depressing for words. So were the excuses and justifications.
The John Jay Report report noted fully 4% of Catholic priests molested children between 1950 and 2002. No numbers on how many priests who had sex with adults. That issue wasn’t studied, for some reason. I suspect the reason was the Church didn’t want to know that number.
In spite of the official self-pats on the back and praise for the “vast majority” of priests, there is no detailed study into the sexual habits of priests. All informal studies indicate that celibacy, as we commonly understand it, is mostly observed in the breach. I am unwilling to praise the “vast majority” of priests when I’m not sure what “vast” and "majority” mean.
Often, apologists for the sex abuse crisis compare the rate of priestly sex abuse of children with men in general, or other subgroups such a boy scout leaders, coaches and teachers.
This is misplaced. I wouldn’t be part of any secular organization that had such high rates of sex abuse and consistently mishandled it, offering excuses as solutions.
So, here’s my question:
What’s your number?”
How high does the incidence of clergy sex abuse have to be before you conclude the organization is too corrupt to continue?
1%? 5%? 10%? 25%? 50%?
Do you have any number at all?
Here’s mine: <1%
I don’t expect perfection from priests. I accept they are human-uncharitable, untruthful, prideful, etc.--as the rest of us are.
I have a difficult time with too many sins to list here. I do find it easy to avoid some “biggies.” My axe murdering days are over. In fact they never began. Same for sexual abuse of children. If these “biggees” are difficult for you, let me suggest that you don’t have time to be a priest. Your full time vocation is to deal with these “biggies.”
I expect the institutional church to do a very good job of screening out such people, and eliminating those who get past the initial screen. That’ why my number is <1%. Less than one percent of all priests should ever have sexual abuse issues.
If current church leaders can’t do that, then get new ones. I personally believe the institution has failed and it should be completely scrapped.