05/18/11-by Bridgette P. LaVictoire
It took five years for the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ commissioned report to come out and blame the tumult of the 1960′s for the child sexual abuse scandal that has plagued the Church for over a decade now. Of course, this means that those priests who abused children after the 1960′s had access to time machines and were able to go back in time to abuse children in the eras before they were born, thus contaminating the time stream and violating the Temporal Prime Directive. The one notable thing about this report is that it does not blame gays for the scandal.
Instead, it blames Woodstock and the Summer of Love.
LezGetReal obtained a copy of the report this morning, and according to Dr. Paula Brooks, our managing editor and publisher, this is the rationale given as to why the 1960′s and 1970′s saw a huge increase in the number of child sexual abuse cases:
The report says, the abuse occurred because priests who were poorly prepared and monitored, and were under stress, landed amid the social and sexual turmoil of the 1960s and ’70s.
Known occurrences of sexual abuse of minors by priests rose sharply during those decades, the report found, and the problem grew worse when the church’s hierarchy responded by showing more care for the perpetrators than the victims.
However the study notes, that there was little evidence before 2002 “that diocesan leaders met directly with victims.’’ Instead, church leaders focused on the abusive priests rather than on their victims.
Researchers at John Jay, also concluded that gay priests were no more likely to abuse than heterosexual priests.
In fact, the study noted that gay men began entering the seminaries “in noticeable numbers” from the late 1970s through the 1980s. By the time this cohort entered the priesthood, in the mid-1980s, the reports of sexual abuse of minors by priests began to drop and then to level off.
If anything, the report says, the abuse decreased as more gay priests began serving the church.
The study also found that celibacy could not be blamed for the abuse epidemic. Nor could seminaries have done a better job screening for likely offenders because abusive priests had no common profile.
And while abusive priests have often been branded pedophiles, in a declaration that will no doubt stir controversy, the report says that fewer than 5 percent actually met that definition and said, “The majority of victims were pubescent or post-pubescent,’’ the report states. “Thus,’’ they wrote, “it is inaccurate to refer to abusers as pedophile priests.’’
However, the study’s authors seem to redefine what constitutes pedophilia by suggesting that the prepubescent period ends at age 10, while, major associations of psychiatrists typically define pedophilia as interest in children 13 and younger.
There appears to be a problem with the logic offered by the report. This qualifies as a false correlation. Abuse cases appear to rise in the 1960′s and 1970′s, and drop from the 1980′s and onward. That likely has something to do with several factors that the report does not appear to take into account very well. The first is that many of the victims of abuse from the 1930′s through the 1950′s are probably very reluctant to come forward due to cultural norms held at that time would make it less likely that they would want to come forward. Victims from 1980 through 2010 are less likely to come forward just yet due to not having overcome the shame of being molested, and that is if they actually remember being molested as anything other than a nightmare.
The next issue that does not seem adequately addressed is the fact that child abuse victims from before 1963 (the actual start of the 60′s) may not be alive today to report their abuse. There is, after all, a war in there where a large number of young men died.
Now, for the reality check. As mentioned in the report, only about five percent of the priests who served during the time covered by the report abused children or young adults. This means that only about five percent qualify as pedophiles or ephebophiles. According to the report, less than four percent qualify as pedophiles while just over one percent as ephebophiles. Oddly enough, this fits with what several studies claim is the percentage in the general population of pedophiles and ephebophiles in any given population.
That aspect of the report is no doubt going to upset Bill Donohue of the Catholic League, who has been blaming gays for the whole thing for some time now.
People are saying that the report will not satisfy either Liberals or Conservatives, and the reality is that it will probably not satisfy anyone except for the most ardent supporters of the Roman Catholic Church because it does not actually address the real problem. People are not upset about the fact that there are pedophiles in the Roman Catholic Church. There are pedophiles anywhere where children congregate. Any profession where children are involved is likely to have pedophiles in it. There are teachers, school guidance councilors, pediatricians, day care workers, and on who molest children. The problem is that the Roman Catholic Church put its needs above those of the children and refused to report the crimes to the police. What is more, they often moved priests who were accused of assault around in order to avoid prosecution.
Pedophilia in the Catholic Church has never been the problem, so the report on the causes is not the answer. The excuse of it being the 1960′s does not pass muster either. Simply put, the report is trying to assuage fears that are not at the core of the scandal, but rather trying to divert attention from the fact that the crimes were covered up.
As President Richard M. Nixon learned, it is not the crimes that get you, it’s the cover up.