Priest Sex Scandal


I haven’t seen any good threads on here on how to combat people that throw up the ole’ “priests abuse little boys” argument. Does anyone have statistics or argumentation that would defend the Church or at least explain this scandal in light of everything?



Good topic. Here’s something for starters:


Stats compiled by John Jay College of Criminal Justice, I think they update this report every year. And this article by Catholic League put the scandal and stats in a social context. It is a much larger problem in society as a whole, the public school system, Protestant clergy, etc.

Phil P


Wow, that’s great. And great links at the end. Thank you


Well, “in light of everything”, tell the anti-Catholic that the vast majority of priests don’t abuse. Of course, they already know that. So their agenda against the Church goes way beyond Priest abuse.


People who bring this up have other issues. You’ve already been given great responses, I just wanted to add that it’s always a good idea to not try and downplay the crimes that were committed. Sometimes when we are showing how blown out of proportion the scandals were, we can give the impression that the actual scandals weren’t a big deal.


Read “Pedophiles and Priests” by Philip Jenkins, Distinguished Professor of History and Religious Studies at Pennsylvania State University.


BTW, Philip Jenkins is not Catholic.

OK, on to my response. I am a therapist with a case load of about 50 clients. I have been in the field about 6 years (3rd career:D ) My colleagues and I were talking just yesterday about sexual child abuse, and we estimated that about 80% of our clients have a history of being sexually abused as children. I have only ever met one client who was abused by a priest. Of course, even one is too many, but I think this supports the contention that sexual abuse of children is very widespread, not just limited to priests. And, also, the great majority of abuses by priests were not children (under the age of 13) but teenaged boys and were homosexual acts, not pedophilia.



In addition, I recommend this article on the Catholic Answers website.


Guardian posted:

Does anyone have statistics or argumentation that would defend the Church or at least explain this scandal in light of everything?

I do not have statistics but I do work for the Criminal Justice System so am arguably qualified to pass on what I know:

** FACT** Name any occupation of your choice. There within it are far greater instances of child sex abuse than takes place among Catholic Priests.

** FACT** The instances of child abuse by Catholic Priests is so small relative to the rest of society that it is almost insignificant.

** FACT** Instances of abuse among professionals, Priests are consistently among the most trustworthy and reliable in the care of children and vulnerable adults.

** FACT** Dysfunctional individuals often make spurious allegations as attention seeking behaviour. What ever is in the media is adopted for the attention seeking.

** FACT** Not every claim that reaches the media is correct. A lot of people have tried to jump on the bandwagon of suing in the hopes they will not get caught out.

take for example a group who alleged they’d been abused
at a former Catholic School which was demolished years ago.
The CC stupidly agreed to pay damages after the case was
in the UK national press.

When the government education dept [nothing to do with the CC] inspected the old school records held in the archives, not one of the names appeared on any of the former school register! This was challenged and they all withdrew their claims!

Too late, the National Daily Press, [which was at the time one of the largest selling newsheets in UK at the time] had ran a front page article on it for several weeks. It had done untold damage to both reputation of Priests and the CC.

Hope that helps! :slight_smile:


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