If case you haven’t heard, a new study was issued that places the cultural permissiveness of the 1960s and an unprepared clergy as the root cause of the child sexual abuse scandal that’s come to light in the last 15 years.
From the Washington Post story on the study: “The largest study ever done on youth sexual abuse by Catholic clergy concludes that the scandal that became public in 2002 was a temporary problem caused by poorly trained seminarians, bishops who focused too little on victims and a permissive culture in the 1960s and 1970s that saw an increase in divorce, marijuana experimentation and robbery.
The $2 million four-year study by John Jay College of Criminal Justice found that gay priests were not more likely than heterosexual ones to abuse and that a small minority of accused priests meet the clinical definition of pedophiles.
It has been closely watched by experts, historians and advocates for victims and accused priests. This is because John Jay was given unprecedented access by the church — which paid for about half the study — to priests’ personnel files and psychosexual testing, as well as seminary records. The subject of clergy sex abuse ignites multiple culture war flames, with various sides blaming homosexuality, celibacy, church secrecy and societal turmoil.
Supporters and critics of the church were already speaking out about the study, whose general contours researchers have publicly described over the years.
“Who else has studied child sex abuse at this level? No other organization has anything similar. If we’re really serious about keeping kids safe, other organizations have to follow suit: the public schools, the Boy Scouts, sporting organizations,” said Tom Plante, a psychologist who works with Catholic clergy and consulted the bishops for this study.
“This report misses the boat. What deserves the most scrutiny are not child sex crimes but continued clergy cover-ups of child sex crimes,” the advocacy group Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said Tuesday in a statement.”
What the report really fails to address is the failure of church leaders to protect the victims of child sexual abuse, often moving the abuser to other churches and to other cities. But is the sexual revolution of the 1960s really to blame for priests — who are supposed to be chaste — to sin and sexually abuse children? Are the 1960s really to blame for a priest to ignore the angel on one should and listen to the devil on the other has he plans to sin with an innocent?
The report is disappointing to say the least.