Celibacy and sex abuse scandal

I have found myself debating this issue many times because people link celibacy to the abuse scandals. I told this person fundamentalist that its not only catholic priests but all churches so it cannot be celibacy as the cause of abuse but other reasons. Where can I find data to support this fact that its not just a catholic problem but happens with groups that have married clergy too? thank you.




Sorry for only posting links. I knew I read about this regarding insurance so I googled with the search terms sex abuse churches insurance.

Also, there is a book by Philip Jenkins on this subject. Look for articles by him that will approach the subject from a non-insurance perspective. It has nothing to do with celibacy.

It’s a false and mythical narrative that celibacy has anything to do with it. Just use some common sense. If celibacy is driving you so crazy and mad that you just had to have sex, why would you pick a boy to have sex with? There are plenty of willing women available.

No normal hetersexual man who was looking for sex would look to teenage boys. He wouldn’t risk jail time when sex with of-age women is readily available.

The sex abuse scandal happened because homosexual men, who are attracted to young/teenage men, were allowed into the priesthood. And it festered because weak or homosexual bishops did not stamp it out and sometimes just moved them around to hide their sins.

If celibacy caused pedophilia, then scoutmasters, Protestant clergy, etc, all of whom
have had instances of pedophilia, should not be celibate, either… Wait a minute…!!!


The top 3 profile characteristics of a pedophile as listed on a sherrif’s department in Washington are as follows:[LIST=1]
*]Is most often an adult male.
*]Is usually married.
*]Works in a wide range of occupations, from unskilled laborer to corporate executive.
[/LIST]Read more here.

A 2001 study by Abel and Harlow says: “Child molesters match the U.S. population in education, percentage married or formerly married, and religious observance.”

A study by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention says: “There are cases in which the incestuous father is a seduction or introverted pref- erential-type child molester (i.e., pedophile) who “married” simply to gain access to children. In many cases he has molested children outside the marriage or children in previous “marriages.””

This last quote touches on something I determined in my own research on the subject (Psychology of a Pedophile), that the priesthood, like other professions with access to children (teachers, scouts, etc.) was sought by a perpetrator as a profession after he already had the disorder.

I was with you until the last paragraph. :rolleyes:

Are there homosexual priests, yes. Is this the cause of sexual abuse? NO. There are “normal” heterosexual and homosexual adults who choose only appropriate sexual partners. There are “abnormal” heterosexual and homosexual adults who choose inappropriate sexual partners, such as young children. (I am not condoning, supporting, or defending homosexual activity.)

Pedophiles abuse children. They come from all walks of life. They are drawn to careers, whether consciously or unconsciously, which put them within reach of their preferred victims. They become teachers, ministers, camp directors, boy scout leaders, youth directors, etc, Pedophiles are often married. (There goes the celibacy connection!)

If a homosexual priest chooses to have an illicit encounter or relationship, he can find a willing partner. If he is not a pedophile, he will not choose young boys.

Sexual orientation does not lead to pedophilia. Pedophilia is an ugly and dangerous condition which affects all “orientations”.

In my mind the abuse scandal had a lot more to do with the cover up efforts than with just the fact there are bad priests. Although I don’t know for sure I doubt the percentage of pedophile priests is any higher than the rest of the population.

I would also point out a huge portion of the attention was due to an anti-Christian/anti-Catholic agenda on the part of the media and other actors.

That’s correct.

The abuse is found all across the board - medical doctors, lawyers, teachers, religious leaders (priests, pastors, counselors), psychologists, policemen, firemen, etc.

Those entrusted with the most responsibility will always be the most shocking due to their position of trust.

A cover up is an obstruction of justice. Prosecuting this offense will greatly impact the aiding and abetting of a felon. Bottom line, it is a felony to sexually abuse a child.

Agree as well.

There was very little pedophilia involved in the homosexual Priests scandal-88% of the abuse was homosexual rape of post pubescent males.

Very good answers.

I would like to add that if your fundamentalist friend is hostile to the Catholic Church, remind him that when there is a sex scandal and the party involved is a baseball couch, or boy scout leader, or what ever, the media does not attack baseball or the boy scouts. Ask your fundamentalist friend to do an honest examination of conscience. Do they hate baseball or boy scouts because of sex scandals? Give the Catholic Church the same consideration.

Men who want to have sex with teenage boys came into the Church to enjoy a position of respect and trust, and to gain access to teen boys. Great hiding place since priests cannot marry so it’s easy for them to fly under the radar since they are not interested in women. They are a wolf in sheeps’ clothing coming in to damage the flock and the reputation of good men who are serving as priests. They have damaged the reputation of the Church and hindered the spread of the gospel of Christ. This should grieve the heart of everyone who calls themselves Christian.


Can you cite a study or investigation to support?


Second, the study demonstrates that the overwhelming majority of victims of sexual abuse between 1950 and 2010 were male (81 per cent) and between the ages of eleven and fourteen (51 per cent). Meanwhile 27 per cent were aged fifteen to seventeen, 16 per cent were eight to ten, and only 6 percent were under the age of seven.

While the “scourge of celibacy” as the root cause of the sexual abuse crisis has taken on a kind of canonical status within the modern media (against which Sarah Coakley has written compellingly and at length), the study discounts celibacy per se as a compelling factor.

“Given the continuous requirement of priestly celibacy over time, it is not clear why the commitment to or state of celibate chastity should be seen as a cause for the steady rise in incidence of sexual abuse between 1950 and 1980. Andrew Greeley makes the same argument, joining it to the obvious statistical observation that the vast majority of incidents of sexual abuse of children are committed by men who are not celibates.”

thank you! that came in very handy. I also searched and found more recent links of billy graham’s grandson who heads an organization that investigates abuse in evangelical churches and he says they have a bigger problem than catholics.

According to Philip Jenkins:

My research of cases over the past 20 years indicates no evidence whatever that Catholic or other celibate clergy are any more likely to be involved in misconduct or abuse than clergy of any other denomination—or indeed, than non-clergy. However determined news media may be to see this affair as a crisis of celibacy, the charge is just unsupported… My concern over the “pedophile priest” issue is not to defend evil clergy, or a sinful church (I cannot be called a Catholic apologist, since I am not even a Catholic).


Since the mid-1980s, insurance companies have offered sexual misconduct coverage as a rider on liability insurance, and their own studies indicate that Catholic churches are not higher risk than other congregations. Insurance companies that cover all denominations, such as Guide One Center for Risk Management, which has more than 40,000 church clients, does not charge Catholic churches higher premiums. “We don’t see vast difference in the incidence rate between one denomination and another,” says Sarah Buckley, assistant vice president of corporate communications. “It’s pretty even across the denominations.”


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