Overly harsh, they said

Overly harsh, they said

Speaking of dealing with sex abuse, Phil Lawler writes that for the Vatican it seems the sexual abuse “learning curve” is flat. At Catholic World News, we got excerpts of the report of the seminar in Rome last April on clergy sex abuse. At this point, it has only been made available to the presidents of bishops’ conference.

In any case, the first noteworthy aspect is that the Vatican trumpets the fact that makes a point to tell us that all of the psychotherapists included are non-Catholic. Is that supposed to make me feel better? Wouldn’t we want psychotherapists who also have a Catholic understanding of sin, repentance, sexuality, and son. Then we find out that these were exclusively therapists who had been used for treating pervert priests. As Phil says:

In other words, the people who were invited to Rome, to instruct Catholic prelates on the proper treatment of sexual predators, were the people who have been treating clerical molesters! The Vatican sought advice from the same people who have been advising bishops for the past generationom/blog/index.php?URL=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.boston.com%2Fdailynews%2F058%2Fwash%2FChurch_abuse_reports_say_nearl%3A.shtml”>here we have the numbers. All the news reports will place these figures at the top of their stories: 10,667 claims of abuse between 1950 and 2002; 4,392 out of 109,694 priests “and others under vows to the Church.” Now you have to take the latter with a grain of salt. It isn’t proper to say that this was all “clergy,” since some of those would include religious brothers and sisters. So what is the real breakdown of abuse by priests? Higher or lower? It doesn’t say whether it includes religious order priests, although it infers that it does by including religious order brothers and sisters.

Tellingly, more than 80 percent of alleged victims are male and over half said they were between 11 and 14. What percentage were over 14? In any case, a lot more than half of the cases cannot be attributed to classic pedophilia then and must be classified as something else.

Also, of the 10,667 claims, 10 percent were unsubstantiated, meaning they weren’t deemed credible, and 20 percent were not investigated because the priest was dead or already out of the active priesthood. That’s a significant percentage. Again, we see that abuse peaked in the 1970s, not surprisingly given the laxity of discipline and doctrine.

The interesting thing of all this was the review board’s report. They give serious criticism to the bishops, dismiss talk of the need to end celibacy, and bring up the specter of homosexuality. I’ll try to read the reports over the weekend to get a better understanding of what they say, but one thought I do have is: what now? Do the bishops file this one a shelf and claim that we’ve addressed the problem?

In fact, we still need the serious examination of seminaries, we need to root out the sources of dissent that provided the justification for the behavior, and we need to rid ourselves of bishops who put pedophiles before victims.

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli

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