"There appears to have been a significant surge in acts of abuse beginning in the 1960s and continuing into the mid-1980s…Actions taken by many, but not all, dioceses in the 1980s and early 1990s significantly reduced the number of reported incidents of abuse." usccb.org/nrb/nrbstudy/nrbreport.pdf
hi irish, well, from what ive seen from court cases and testimony of victims, abuse was in full swing thru the 80s and into the 90s. take a survey for yourself. dig into the news. lots of victims who come forth are in their 20s, like 24, 25…etc. they were born in the 80s.
If you take a look at the site I posted, and then scroll down to the graph, you will see the abuse cases plummeted after the mid-80s. Yet, most of those cases were not claimed or reported until much later, so many people think that the abuse took place when it was reported and that is not the case.
So, again, I am wondering what happened from the mid-80s on to make abuse so much less then it was during the 60s, 70s and 8s.
Is it possible that things simply take some time to get reported, as the victims age and mature and come to try coping with their longstanding suffering?
Typically, it doesn’t just go, “Father touched little Franky and tomorrow we’ll tell the police.” Rather, it’s often a situation of someone in their 30s or 40s who has repressed things for so long and finally is able to come forth in searching for healing and justice.
And a lot of them went through the seminary in the 40s & 50s since a lot of the abuse dates back to the late 50s, early 60s. Some of the priests I know who have been accused (that includes some who were pastors when I was a child and I’m 55) were not products of Vatican II by any stretch of the imagination.
(cliche warning) Vatican II didn’t happen in a vacuum! The large amount of faithless clergy preceded VCII, which is why John XXIII was warned not to convene a Council. And the Holy Spirit had to work overtime to prevent that Council from falling into error. And there are two other events regarding 1984 (not the book!) that I’m surprised haven’t been mentioned. Hint: Fatima & Pope Leo XIII.
Phemie, my experience (and age) is the same as yours; two of the priests in my childhood parish (in Massachusetts, unfortunately a hotbed of wayward priests, it seems) have been removed from ministry.
One reason I have heard (and just one) for the abuse perpetrated by those in seminary in the 40s and 50s is the rightfully abandoned practice of entering a “minor” seminary in about the ninth grade. These boys should have been enjoying typical adolescent pursuits, socializing in groups with boys and girls, but were instead isolated and held apart, discouraged from relationships of any sort with girls. In some cases, as I understand it, this resulted in a stunting of “psychosexual” development, which could lead to the aforementioned abuse. (I’m by no means a psychologist; it was a priest who has done much to educate people about possible causes of the abuse from whom I heard this.) Anyway, that’s one theory; when the minor seminaries were done away with, at least that possible cause disappeared.
That explanation is one I also heard from a priest. I don’t know how valid it is. One thing I also note is that the prevalence of abuse of males is quite possibly due to the fact that there was rarely access to girls. We didn’t hang around with the priest, it would have been deemed unseemly.
OTOH, in situations where both boys and girls were available (such as a community near me) the reported cases of abuse involve both girls and boys.
Minor seminary may be gone from North America but it’s alive and well in Europe. A friend of mine who was ordained about 3 years ago is a product of such a system.
I’d like to think that it’s the same here, but I have my doubts. We were appalled to discover, about three years ago, that one of the seminarians from our diocese was a very troubled, very active homosexual young man, well known to our daughter (longtime classmate) and quite open about his proclivities. My husband spoke with the bishop, who professed complete ignorance of the young man’s background.
He is no longer a seminarian, but instead is a sort of chief altar server at our Cathedral. I pray for him, but am also relieved that, as troubled and disordered as his behavior is, he will apparently not be ordained.
I am suggesting that there wasn’t always a lot of vetting of seminarians done, even up to recently, and this was evidence of that. In this instance, the young man in question seems to be an ebophile (attracted to adolescents) which, I think we could agree, would not be a good thing in a priest.
I am well aware that homosexual does not = pedophile. I am also of the opinion that active homosexuals should not be admitted to Holy Orders, and that has also happened too often, quite apart from the abuse scandal.