Looking for material to address the priestly scandals


I have some friends undergoing the RCIA and they are terribly affected by these scandals. I would really appreciate some good articles online addressing this issue.



I know there have been books written on it which I haven’t read. One by a former priest, Richard Sipe, had a lot of coverage and promotion. The group SNAP formerly abused Catholics must a website where one can go and get information.

The most recent expose was Cardinal Theodore McCarrick which has been all over the news including EWTN. Supposedly, an 800 page report implicating 300 priests in 6 of Pennsylvania’s 8 dioceses will be made public soon.


Yeah, but are you looking for sources that will give a balanced view of the question? SNAP and a priest who left his vocation don’t seem like they’d give the Church an impartial assessment. :wink:

Yep. Next week, maybe. Keep in mind, though: this isn’t necessarily new revelations, so much as it seems that it will be a rehash of what we already know. So, not “300 new cases”, but “reruns of many (already known) cases”. (Or cases referencing those who have died, or those for whom the statute of limitations has long since passed.) :man_shrugging:


I’ve tried looking for some material on Catholic Answers, Shameless Popery, EWTN, Called to Communion, but nothing really stands out. I need something about perspectives, comparisons, …really just something to tell them not to be deceived and dejected by one of Satan’s most successful attacks against the church.


Consider these explanations

  1. https://www.catholic.com/magazine/print-edition/qa-understanding-the-priest-scandal

  2. https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/report-pope-francis-affirms-church-practice-against-admitting-gay-men-to-seminary-65273


What is it specifically that is bothering them?

For a general overview of the myths, etc around this issue, George Weigel has an excellent piece. You can find it online here: https://www.catholiceducation.org/en/controversy/sexual-abuse-and-the-priesthood/priests-abuse-and-the-meltdown-of-a-culture.html


OK, what would you suggest for looking into this matter? From what I gather Sipe’s books on the matter are very well researched over a period of several years and not a fly by the night hatchet job. I subsequently looked at SNAP’s website and it appears to be quite comprehensive. I never said the report are new cases but when one inserts a number like 300 sexual predatory priests the situation becomes ominous regardless of how old they are.


What the sources you’ve included lack is objectivity and balance. 300 predatory priests sound ominous, sure, but what proportion is that to the overall population during the time period for which these complaints span? At the present time, I think there is something like 2,500 priests in Pennsylvania, so depending on the time period at play, we could be looking in the range of 10,000 priests who had served - which means the proportion is 3%, which is less than the 5% in the general population.


One case ever is one too many and the cover up attempts make things worse.

What we can say is that the Church does bot condone the behavior and is taking steps yo ensure that it never hapoens again.


I completely agree that one case is one too many. However, in addressing concerns about the scandal, it is rarely sufficient to say that the Church does not condone the behavior and is taking steps to ensure that it never happens again. We also have to demonstrate that there is not inherent in the Church - be it structures, etc - that causes or encourages this behavior, and that the Church is, in this instance, regrettably reflecting a much larger societal problem.

This is why the John Jay report is so valuable. Not only does it place the scandal in context, showing that children were not at any greater danger from clerics than they would be in the general population, it also demonstrates that the current measures are among the very best in place now and that children in the present day are likely to be safer in the church than in the general population.


The document that was released when this scandal began?



I wouldn’t try to sugarcoat it or minimize it. It is a big issue. That being said, every organization is made of sinful man, and as such there will be times that we will have to repent. Just lay your cards out on the table openly and honestly.


I found this short talk by Fr John Hollowell to be quite compelling. It’s not an in-depth analysis but it’s well expressed & a call to arms, of sorts.

I think it always helps to see members of the clergy who are obviously as strongly repulsed by this situation as the laity. It’s available as a podcast, too.



Not only are they ‘old’ in terms of when they occurred, they’re ‘old’ in terms of when they ended and when they were discovered and dealt with. That’s a completely different dynamic than “we need to address this!” – this is “we need to dredge up old wounds and expose them, yet again, to public scrutiny!”


You can’t do any better than Bishop Robert Barron.


Louisiana has very sadly had it’s share of these situations and priests being moved around. It just is so tragic for all involved but for the Church as a whole.


Pope Francis prayer for the year of Mercy includes that ministers will be clothed in weakness as an assistance to us.


You have a point but I think that any response without stating that one case is one too many and that the Church does not condone the behavior comes across as whitewashing.

Mistakes were made and we cannot deny that.


I thought SNAP was anti-Catholic, I remember an article where they were trying to falsely accuse a priest.


I would handle it this way:

Most of the accusations never ended in a trial and conviction.

Have their been guilty priests. Yes.

There was an article published in Newsweeks stating to the effect that the Catholic priests are no more guilty than the average male American.

The problem seems to be with a supposed cover up. Were some guilty–probably. Could the church have acted sooner? Probably. CAn any law enforcement organization act sooner–probably.

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