Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Myth of Pedophile Priests

It really is unfortunate the this Holy Week has to be spent fighting off unsubstantiated and false accusations against the Holy Father.  I just made the mistake of reading the comments on the New York Times website to an article by Maureen Dowd.  I wanted to entitle this post "Maureen Dowd is a Dope," but decided that would be uncharitable for this penitential season.  Ms. Dowd seems to be one of those for whom it is too difficult to remain Catholic, but  has too much of her self-image as an Irish Catholic Crusader tied up in her membership in the Church.  And, since the Church won't bend to her whims, she will make a living by lashing out against all things Catholic,  Her argument that a nun running the Church will solve all of its problems is laughingly ignorant.  Perhaps she hasn't read the reports of abuse by nuns in the Irish Church.  Any abuse is an utter abomination, but the knee-jerk conclusion that a woman would be more likely to report abuse or manage the issue better is just ridiculous.

Father Dwight Longenecker has a terrific article debunking the myths concerning the "pedophile priest."  He quotes an extensive study by Phillip Pullman that provide the following under-reported facts:

  • Priestly celibacy is not the issue - married men are more likely to abuse children than unmarried
  • Most child abuse takes place within the home.
  • All religious groups have pedophile scandals, and the Catholics (while the largest religious group) are at the bottom of the list statistically.
  • Child abuse is prevalent in all areas of society: schools, youth organizations, sports, etc.
  • Statistically, of all the professions, Christian clergy are least likely to offend. Doctors, Farmers and Teachers are the professions most likely to abuse children--not clergy.
  • Among clergy offenders Catholic priests are least likely to offend.
  • Catholic cases of pedophilia make more headlines because of anti Catholic prejudice and because the Catholic Church is bigger and more lucrative to sue...
So, let's keep the facts straight and keep them out front.  Thank you to Archbishop Dolan, Bishop DiMarzio and others who have taken a strong public stand in defense of the Holy Father.  And, don't forget to do your bit.  Write to the New York Times;  tell them you won't stand for their reckless tabloid approach to reporting.  It's time we rallied the troops and stood up to the last acceptable prejudice, that against the Catholic Church.

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Men of The Catholic Jedi Academy are also Men Of Saint Joseph!
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