BALTIMORE -- For much of the past decade it has been an article of faith for many, bolstered by the testimony of thousands of victims, that the Catholic priesthood is a haven for child molesters and that the Catholic bishops have been particularly guilty of covering up for those abusers.
But preliminary results from a sweeping study of sexual abuse in the priesthood show that the Catholic Church has been much like the rest of society in terms of the incidence of abuse and the response by its institutional leaders.
The data, which was presented to the U.S. hierarchy on the second day of their annual meeting here, also appears to contradict the widely held view that homosexuals in the priesthood were largely responsible for the abuse.
"What we are suggesting is that the idea of sexual identity be separated from the problem of sexual abuse," said Margaret Smith, a researcher from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, which is conducting an independent study of sexual abuse in the priesthood from 1950 up to 2002. "At this point, we do not find a connection between homosexual identity and an increased likelihood of sexual abuse."
… The sexual abuse scandal that erupted in January 2002 in Boston and spread across the country led to what is considered the greatest crisis in the history of American Catholicism, and the role of gay priests in the abuse scandal has been a topic of heated debate inside and outside the church. The belief that gay men were inordinately inclined to be abusers was one reason the Vatican issued a controversial document in 2005 barring homosexuals from the priesthood. Read complete article - by DAVID GIBSON – Politics Daily