Defending our priests

I am a catholic and have been since a young child. I have great faith in my church, but most of my friends and family have left the catholic church. We get into debates about confession and other rites within the church but the biggest argument is that Priest are child sex abusers. I try and tell them that statistics say that there are only a few priest that commit these awful crimes. Today I read an article that Pope Benedict defrocked 400 priests for child sex abuse in just 2 yrs. revealed documents, and that the numbers are rising. This is frightning and when my friends read such articles they throw it up in my face. Can anyone come up with statistics that are maybe better than those of other churches, or does the catholic church have the highest percentage of child sex abusers of any other churches. It’s rather difficult to make a good argument when articles like these appear in the news and all over the internet. Please tell me what you think.We all need to really start to pray hard for our priest. So many of them do great work. Thank you,Brenda

As someone who comes down pretty hard on the Catholic church for the sex abuse scandals, I can tell you that it is not the number of priests that upsets me, it’s the systematic cover ups to which there seem to be no end. It wouldn’t matter to me if the number reported today was 400 priests or 40,000, if the church did the responsible and moral thing and immediately reported what they knew to civil authorities, rather than moving priests or just paying them to retire. But sadly, their record on that leaves much to be desired.

If you want to respond to your friends, find out what steps have and are currently being taken to prevent this kind of institutional exploitation from happening again, because at this point, that’s really all that can be done.

400 priests out of how many world wide. Catholic church will bann someone from ministry even if it was once and it happen so long ago that it is past even the legal statue of limitations. There is certainly not any "cover up by any bishop anywhere and all diocese have a comunity or board where people can complain. Even if you go bring up facts of other churches, I would bet that they would feel the same way. You can point out that there are and have been more abuse in public school systems than in the catholic church. With your family, I would stop bringing this up to them. If they do, tell them that this is an endless argument and the conversation needs to move on to something more interesting and stop obsessing about priests having sex.

As I said before on the Forum, brought up Jewish and went to Anglican School, I encountered the same problems also except it was covered up. In England we have had a few well known Pop Stars - Jimmy Saville, and now there is another one going to Court, you want to read the article on why Jennifer Fulfiller became Catholic at the height of the secular frenzy over this, she points out correctly that it happens unfortunately in all religions, school coaches have been charged, Pop Stars, etc. The people who go to another Church cannot see further than there nose, the religion they joined have the same problem.

These lapsed Catholics will not be asked to account for any priest, or there neighbour, but themselves when they meet the Lord, out of 12 Apostles we had Judas, his was a money thing I know, but when you take the number of great priests we have its not a drop in the Ocean, my best friend her Dad raped her, does this mean every Dad is a rapist, no, I had a great Dad.

Google “Hindu sex scandal”, “Muslim sex scandal”, “Buddhist sex scandal”, “Teacher sex scandal”, “Counselor sex scandal”, “Congressional sex scandal” or any other faith or profession. Lotsa sex scandals all over the world. What are the others doing about it?


  • for the knee-jerks, this is not justification. It shows a world-wide pattern of evil that is recognized and condemned only when it afflicts the Catholic Church.

I think the most strong testament comes from those victims of clerical abuse that have continued to practice faithfully and love the Church and God despite their terrible ordeal. They remind us that Jesus is the great High Priest and we can always trust in Him to comfort and guide us through the evils of this life.

I tend to feel hesitant to try and defend because I don’t want to protect anything that is evil under that umbrella of defense. I say, ‘it is sad and unacceptable that this has happened within the Church but that I have faith that Jesus and the Eucharist and would never abandon them because that’s what the devil wants us to do ultimately’.

Agree. Continue to pray for the many holy and good priests we do have. Pray for priests that maybe involved in scandals as well as the victims.

When Paul was told that believers were committing acts of clear sexual immorality, he did not hasten to insist that other religions had members who did this too. He did not understand apologetics as the art of making the Church look better than it is. Rather, he went straight to the offenders, and told them to repent.

If the media attacks us, and we fight back, we are playing into the patterns of this world, and playing into this world’s notion of victory. Jesus said to turn the other cheek. My fellow Catholics: are you willing to?

I understand what you are saying. Op was looking for what to say to ex-Catholic family members who continuously use the priest sex scandal as a means to attack that she still goes and practices her faith. No one in trying to answer her is trying to justify any priest’s having sex with minors at all. The behavior is inexcusible as well as having them be shuffled around from church to Church. The comparisom to other Churches or public schools is only meant to show that people will overlook them but attack the Catholic church. Sadly though, people like this have already made up their minds and no matter how many facts they have showing this is a problem elsewhere.

The Church has always been riddled with frail, fallen people. For defensible high ground, look to the saints. What is the ideal that the faithful strive toward? If that ideal calls out to people, and they see the strength of making a pilgrimmage toward that goal in community, then that can provide the momentum for moving forward in the faith, rather than leaving.

It is indeed an egregious breach of the Christian ethos that there were cover ups.

However, I have to disagree that there seems to be no end to that. Today it appears that the hierarchy is acutely aware of its duties and obligations towards the flock and is quite transparent.

As a member of the Catholic League, I can tell you that the Catholic Church has the LEAST number of sex abuse scandals when compared to other churches and civil institutions like schools. The MEDIA has focused on the Catholic Church, and so LIKEWISE the judicial system has in some places focused on the Catholic Church. One reason for this is that there is a chain of accountability in the Catholic Church, whereas most non-Catholic churches are independent. Another reason is the hatred of Catholic priests prevalent in an amoral, promiscuous, yet self-righteously-politically-correct society. It is all about appearances. So there is NO interest in the NY sex abuse scandal within the Orthodox Jewish community, or the public school systems, or other religious systems.

If you really want to be able to answer your Catholic detractors with facts and figures, sign up with the Catholic League! :thumbsup:

The John Jay Report that investigated the abuse scandal in the Catholic Church in the USA, was the most comprehensive study of child abuse in any major organization ever conducted, was completed in 2011. A summary that appeared in a blog related essentially;
That the child abuse in the American Catholic Church was consistent with that of other large organizations (public schools, Boy Scouts, etc) in numbers and in style and type of abuse. The vast majority of the cases occurred from the mid 1960’s through the mid 1980’s with 94% of all cases occurring before 1990. The researches concluded that there was no causative relationship between either celibacy or homosexuality and the sexual victimization in the Church.
The whole 150 pages of the John Jay Report can be obtained at: click on Reports and Research on the left drop down menu (listed under Child and Youth protection). Scroll down to; Studies presented by The John Jay College Research Team.

Suggest a basic arithmetic class to your friends. The number of active priests in the world is 412,236. 400 abusers would be 0.097% of them. But that’s if the 400 come from active priests in ministry today. More than likely some of them are retired or out of ministry, making the percentage even lower.

This web site might help regarding Baptists Stop Baptist Child Predators

Also News Reports of Ministers Sexually Abusing Children

[FONT=Arial]I don’t think it is going to help anyone to take the “your church sexually abuses more kids than mine” type of approach. One sexually abused child is one too many. What you need to do is argue against the type of reasoning that says a Church can only have spotless members, or the incorrect idea that God is dependent on spotless members to run His Church, reveal truth, or despence grace through the sacraments via His clergy. A bad priest can still dispense sacraments by the virtue of his office, just like how a doctor who has poor health can still write a prescription for medicine that will heal you. The effectiveness of the medicine is not dependent on the doctors health or lifestyle. [/FONT]

[FONT=Arial]Prayers are needed for everyone, priests, those who were defrocked, the victims, and the families of the victims. [/FONT]

Have they pulled their kids out of public school? The number of child sex offenders and incidences of child sex abuse in schools is far higher.


It is also a strong logical case to point out that the very foundations of Church doctrine are the ones that ground arguments highlighting why and how these abuses (of children and power) fall short of the good. Paradox follows if we attempt to condemn the medical theories and research that allow us to determine that this or that doctor is unhealthy in the first place.

These answers will help me too, one of my co workers thinks priests are all homosexual, it made me so mad I did not know what to say, I could not think straight.:mad: I am not very good at arguing, I get all flustered. People buy into the liberal media’s slant on everything.


Im not sure if there are any arguments that can justify the wrongdoings. We have to just accept what happened, humbly, and move on.

Id love to defend our priests, but the way things were handled gives me little to none to work with. So when someone points that out, you just have to learn to deal with the embarassment and admit the wrongdoing.

Of course there is no excuse for anyone to abuse a child sexually or physically, however, I believe that in the 60’s and before, many of these priests were sent for psychological help as it was believed they could be cured. We know much more today, so it appears this added to those priests being returned to a parish, when they were “cured”.

As a former Episcopalian I recall the Rector, married with children, was sexually abusing boys and he was moved to another parish. I don’t believe any records were ever kept. We must remember that there are so many anti catholics and the media who are trying to destroy the Church, that all other churches, schools, scouts, etc. are ignored for the same abuse.

Also in my own personal life, my daughter at 3 and 3 1/2 were sexually abused by two different care takers. The police did nothing and took the word of the wife of one of them, who lied and I had the proof. They made excuses for ignoring the trauma she went through. Also one of my granddaughters was molested by her own father and CPS, police and the court did nothing to him, except try to force her to reunite with him. If it had been a neighbor or stranger he would be in prison. This world is so turned upside down. I have no trust in the justice system and don’t believe much of what the media says.

Many of those priests also had been dead for many years and could not defend themselves against accusations.

From my understanding the Catholic Church today is one of the most safe places for children. The Church did not abuse teenagers or children, individuals did and hopefully there are tests in seminary that will expose those who go into the priesthood for an evil purpose.

Yes we need to pray for the priests, that honest people will treat them with respect and not lump all priests together.

Yours in the Hearts of Jesus and Mary


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