Southern Religion

Pope’s outreach to Anglicans and clerical sexual abuse

Across the pope’s outreach to conservative Anglicans this past week falls the shadow of 25 years of sex abuse scandals, writes E.E. Evans at GerReligion, most of which “involve mostly pederasts — clergy abusing children.”

Add to that “Catholic clergy who have affairs with [adult] women” – a subject which Get Religion suggests deserves more coverage:

Why hasn’t the media, particularly the Roman Catholic press, spent more time on this issue, if it is indeed more common that we’d like to think? On the other hand, when Protestant figures are caught with their pants down, the media seems to dwell on the particulars of the acts rather than trying to examine the surrounding culture of the parish or the denomination. That doesn’t serve much of a purpose beyond titillation.

One recent survey by Baylor University does say clerical abuse of adult parishioners is commonplace. There is data on the psychological profiles of sexually abusive clergy and the techniques they apply. There are research findings that predators consider church members “easy to fool” and the church’s propensity for forgiveness convenient.

All of which, we join GetReligion in suggesting, deserves more coverage.


October 23, 2009 - Posted by | Catholic, Churches, Crime, Cultural, Uncategorized | ,


  1. Baylor U is onto something big when it states ” One recent survey by Baylor University does say clerical abuse of adult parishioners is commonplace ” The corruption of the roman clergy is the tip of an iceberg as the roman church attempts to come to life in the modern world. The setting is complex yet vested in medieval practices that date back to Constantine and the mixture of state power and church .Your article here is too brief and lacking in appreciation of a massive picture , yet valuable as you introduce to people a problem that is global as well as one people in general are reluctant to learn about. I was ordained a Catholic priest in 1954, became a licensed State of California Mental Health Therapist in 1977, now married and father of two sons and 3 grand children . I served as priest in the San Francisco area for 26 years until 1980. I write a weekly commentary for Catholica in Australia.I was happy to see your article .

    Comment by Tom McMahon | October 23, 2009

  2. We certainly agree that “the setting is complex.” Staggeringly so. Thank you for your insightful comment.

    Comment by baptistplanet | October 23, 2009

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