June 7th, 2014

Catholic priests and sexual abuse rates

Let me make this clear at the outset: one case of child sexual abuse by a Catholic priest would be one too many. Priests and all other clergy are in a very special position of both trust and power that makes the betrayal of children under their wing especially heinous.

However, there’s nothing special about the Catholic clergy in terms of their incidence of abuse, at least so far as we can tell. Perhaps the most special thing is that people can blame whatever abuse has occurred by priests on their vows of celibacy, although if it’s correct that rates of abuse by Catholic clergy versus rates of abuse by clergy of other denominations do not differ, then it’s illogical to think that celibacy has anything to do with the phenomenon among priests. What might be most “special” about the Catholic Church versus others is that the Catholic hierarchy is more obvious and attempts to deal with abuse have been more visible.

If you don’t believe me about the statistics, take a good look at this, this, this, this, and this.

You can find tons more articles in that same vein. But I have yet to see a single one that offers any evidence to the contrary, although I can’t say I’ve spent countless hours researching this. And yet, “everybody knows” that priests have an especially high rate of abuse, right?

17 Responses to “Catholic priests and sexual abuse rates”

  1. Mac Says:

    As a Catholic, I appreciate this, Neo. These facts have been stated over and over again in the Catholic media, but haven’t made much of an impression outside those circles. In making the points, one runs the risk of appearing to take the abuse lightly. But it’s only asking for fair treatment. Many bishops deserved to be excoriated for their failure to act against abusers, to cover up the crimes, etc. Fine; let them be excoriated. But the scandal has been used, and I think quite deliberately in some cases, to blacken the reputation of every Catholic priest, and the institution as a whole, which of course is hated by some very influential sectors of society for reasons having nothing whatever to do with the abuse problem.

    Judging by my local paper, sexual offenses by teachers in public schools are all too frequent. Which prompts one Catholic blogger to headline such stories “If Only Schoolteachers Could Marry…”

  2. Doom Says:

    As I was joining the Catholic Church, this broke. I did a heck of a lot of studying of the matter myself. And, I arrived at a similar conclusion to what you are suggesting.

    Further, k-12 seems to be full of pedophilia and given an almost utter lack of attention by media or people, parents. It is an ongoing horror and doesn’t seem to be facing any real scrutiny. The double standard by the media is extreme, and parents don’t even seem to care, so long as they don’t have to deal with those little monsters all day long that they gave life. And it’s not just sexual. Actually, academia in general seems to be a playground for the disturbed. They are, in consensus, generally atheist*, as cover.

    *no such thing as an atheist as science can’t disprove God, they are just anti-God, they ought to be honest about that, but it would blow their cover

  3. blert Says:

    Hollywood is rife with pederasty…

    Yet all of this nasty repugnant behavior is hushed up, by Hollywood.

  4. Ymarsakar Says:

    That’s why they are promoting more homosexuality in school and boy scouts. They need more targets.

    The Leftist alliance contains many of these predators.

  5. Michael Adams Says:

    I’m NOT Catholic, and the slander of their clergy still angers me. I also get to the boiling point pretty quickly when I see yet another accusation of complicity in the murder of Jews. Pope Pius XII is honored at Yad Vashem as one of the “Righteous Among the Nations.” Still, The Deputy slander lives on.

  6. Ann Says:

    It’s going to be awfully hard to turn this around, since MSM entertainment seems to be fully on board with the priests-as-molesters meme, which is the stuff of jokes from Jay Leno to Bill Maher to major network sitcoms.

  7. Ymarsakar Says:

    MSM Entertainment supports rape of children, period. People are thinking of them too lightly and taking their jokes… too lightly.

  8. SCOTTtheBADGER Says:

    I am a lifelong Lutheran, and I will state flat out, that no one has more moral authority on this planet, than the Pope.

  9. Phil D Says:

    Long time lurker here, but first time commenter.

    I would advise a little research on “grooming gangs”, specifically in the UK. It would show what enormous child abuse an overwhelmingly atheistic/agnostic society had/has no trouble in accepting and would illustrate the hypocracy even more.
    I would even suggest it as a future post as it does also illustrate islam on child abuse.

    And of course there is also the abuse as a result of the divorce culture, lowering of age of consent (aka throwing children to the wolves), hedonistic culture …

    The abuse in the CC was very much part of the greater abuse in the Sex and Drugs and Rock&Roll Society, but the CC has cleaned up its act, that unlike the Sex& Society which only seems to go from worse to worse.
    In short, the CC has been made sin-eater for the crimes of the Sex& Society.

    Ps. There will always be some abuse in the CC as long as their is humanity. Thus the cherry-pickers will always be able to pick cherries.

    PPs. Are there studies of abuse by “sexual educators” or as a result of “sexual education” itself. Now there is a balloon that needs to be pricked.

  10. Ymarsakar Says:

    The Left infiltrated a bunch of their people into priest training several decades ago, for CChurch.

  11. Mike Says:

    It’s all about money.

    You can get it from the Church. You can’t get a dime from the Public School teacher, or almost anyone else on this issue.

    I’d bet most of the allegations are false or monumentally exaggerated. The grievance industry is an industry. Show me the money baby!

  12. Ymarsakar Says:

    The Left’s lawyer unions are getting 30-70% of the damages in lawsuits.

    Thus the Left’s ROE prevents them from looting their own alliance members in the school unions.

  13. Roman Says:

    “It’s all about money.” as Mike says. People will say it is not but in the end, they want to be “compensated” for their abuse. Many were wronged and this cannot be tolerated of excused, and the Church was wrong in any attempt to cover up and/or transfer the wrongdoers.

  14. Ymarsakar Says:

    It’s been calculated that a long trial for compensation, locks in PTSD or trauma, so that the affected persons never recover. This is great for making Democrat voters, as they will always have an axe to grind.

    Long trials, though, benefit lawyers and their profit motive. So long trials it is.

  15. Mike Says:

    This comment is a little bit late to the party, but hopefully it adds to the discussion.
    If you look at the public schools and the government agencies like the social workers, etc. the State has inserted provisions that the state and schools are held “harmless” due to a 12-18 month statute of limitations. Now when you compare this to the “no time limit” that these “compassionate” civil servants have given for the CC, one sees the true idea of their cry- “It’s for the children.”
    Now don’t get me wrong, I’m of the opinion that if a religious does this, they should either be kicked out or sent to a monastery for the rest of their life.
    And I’m also offended that most of these cases involve “homosexual” priests abusing older children not those younger than 7 which most pedophiles are classified. But to state that would be non-PC.
    As for the bishops that covered it up or are not practicing a moral life, they too should be gone.
    But you will never see these facts in the MSM- After all we have an agenda to push. 🙁

  16. Mike O'Malley Says:

    Hello Mike and thanks for your late posting. It encouraged me to join the discussion too.

    According to the best research on the topic the problem of sex abuse of children in the American public schools is now over 100 times worst than clerical abuse of children was in the American Catholic Church when it was at its peak during the late 1960s and 1970s. Moreover the most dangerous sex abuse locale for children in America seems to be single parent female headed household with a “live in boyfriend of the month” where the abuse rate exceeds 260 timers that in the traditional American family of married parents. Yes the sexual revolution and the breakdown of the traditional American family are significant drivers of sex abuse of children in America. Not that you would ever know it from the MSM, which seems determined to place any reported instances of sexual abuse of children in the context of the Catholic clerical abuse scandal. [One wonders why.]

    The best and unequaled research available on sex abuse of children within an American institution is that by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice studies of sex abuse of children by priests in the Catholic Church. According to that research the American bishops went into special session at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) conference in 1985 to address clerical sex abuse of children when the bishops were aware of only 815 cases of accusations of abuse spanning the entire United States over a time span of several decades. Within a decade they had put practices in place that reduced instances of abuse to well below the background rate in American society. MSM never reports about this despite the fact that the John Jay College studies are a matter of public record.

    For that matter, there are no few instances of local prosecutors devoting substantial proprietorial resource to target the Catholic Church or a local bishop but never Planned Parenthood which simply does not report instances of criminal sex abuse of children among its abortion “clientele”. Neither have I ever heard of a instance of a prosecutor at any level of government devoting resources to investigating and prosecuting statutory rape among underage sex abuse victims joining the welfare rolls. It seems that scapegoating the Catholic Church is the only way our Western elites are willing to address this wide spread problem.

  17. Mike Says:

    I’m glad I posted late, Mike. I was both surprised and appalled by your information. Things are worse than I thought. But thanks for taking the time to post this information. Too bad the “unbiased” press doesn’t have your level of Joe Friday-“Just the facts, ma’am.”
    attitude. I guess they operate under the banner of – See no evil, hear no evil and ignorance is bliss. 🙁 🙁 🙁

About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

Monthly Archives


Ace (bold)
AmericanDigest (writer’s digest)
AmericanThinker (thought full)
Anchoress (first things first)
AnnAlthouse (more than law)
AtlasShrugs (fearless)
AugeanStables (historian’s task)
Baldilocks (outspoken)
Barcepundit (theBrainInSpain)
Beldar (Texas lawman)
BelmontClub (deep thoughts)
Betsy’sPage (teach)
Bookworm (writingReader)
Breitbart (big)
ChicagoBoyz (boyz will be)
Contentions (CommentaryBlog)
DanielInVenezuela (against tyranny)
DeanEsmay (conservative liberal)
Donklephant (political chimera)
Dr.Helen (rights of man)
Dr.Sanity (thinking shrink)
DreamsToLightening (Asher)
EdDriscoll (market liberal)
Fausta’sBlog (opinionated)
GayPatriot (self-explanatory)
HadEnoughTherapy? (yep)
HotAir (a roomful)
InFromTheCold (once a spook)
InstaPundit (the hub)
JawaReport (the doctor is Rusty)
LegalInsurrection (law prof)
RedState (conservative)
Maggie’sFarm (centrist commune)
MelaniePhillips (formidable)
MerylYourish (centrist)
MichaelTotten (globetrotter)
MichaelYon (War Zones)
Michelle Malkin (clarion pen)
Michelle Obama's Mirror (reflections)
MudvilleGazette (milblog central)
NoPasaran! (behind French facade)
NormanGeras (principled leftist)
OneCosmos (Gagdad Bob’s blog)
PJMedia (comprehensive)
PointOfNoReturn (Jewish refugees)
Powerline (foursight)
ProteinWisdom (wiseguy)
QandO (neolibertarian)
RachelLucas (in Italy)
RogerL.Simon (PJ guy)
SecondDraft (be the judge)
SeekerBlog (inquiring minds)
SisterToldjah (she said)
Sisu (commentary plus cats)
Spengler (Goldman)
TheDoctorIsIn (indeed)
Tigerhawk (eclectic talk)
VictorDavisHanson (prof)
Vodkapundit (drinker-thinker)
Volokh (lawblog)
Zombie (alive)

Regent Badge