Catholic Church Engages In Absurd Defense


Misdirector in Chief at the Vatican

Everyone that has glanced at the headlines in the past year or so has seen the child molestation scandal rocking the Catholic Church.

Obviously, child molestation is a society-destroying activity, in that it can permanently alter the course of the victims’ life for the worse. The Catholic Church, instead of responding with a reasonable defense and subsequent change in policy, resorted to what appears to be not only insufficient but also a dig at Homosexuals in general.

This was what put forward by the Pope’s # 2 in charge, Cardinal Tarcicio Bertone:

“Many psychologists and psychiatrists have demonstrated that there is no relation between celibacy and pedophilia. But many others have demonstrated, I have been told recently, that there is a relation between homosexuality and pedophilia. That is true,” said Bertone. “That is the problem.”

I did a quick bit of research on both claims put out there by the Cardinal. What I found reflects why this may be such a grand problem for the Catholic Church in the first place.

First, to whether there is a link between celibacy and child molestation. It appears the Cardinal is right here, according to Dr. Thomas Plante of the Dept. of Psychology of Santa Clara University:

“the available research (which is quite good now) suggests that approximately 4% of priests during the past half century (and mostly in the 1960s and 1970s) have had a sexual experience with a minor…it appears that this 4% figure is consistent with male clergy from other religious traditions and is significantly lower than the general adult male population which may double these numbers.

Therefore, since the rate is the same or higher in places where celibacy is not a characteristic of the molester, the link between celibacy and child molestation is dubious if not groundless.

However, the Cardinal’s second claim gives a bit of a view into why molestation in the Catholic Church has reached such great levels of fanfare and late-night scorn.

Most research shows, contrary to what the Cardinal stated, that there is no link between pedophilia and homosexuality. According to Dr. Herek of UCdavis:

“The empirical research does not show that gay or bisexual men are any more likely than heterosexual men to molest children.  This is not to argue that homosexual and bisexual men never molest children. But there is no scientific basis for asserting that they are more likely than heterosexual men to do so. And, as explained above, many child molesters cannot be characterized as having an adult sexual orientation at all; they are fixated on children.”

I’m not trained in psychology, so I cannot comment on the veracity of the studies conducted by Dr. Herek and Dr. Plante. However, from reading their studies, I am more convinced by them than a mere conclusory statement from a Cardinal from the Church.

Cardinal Bertone and the Catholic Church should not be engaging in dubious defenses that deflect blame away from the way they conduct the business of the Church. The priests committed the abuse on the Church’s watch and it is their responsibility to thoroughly reform the Church(like supervision and less impunity?) so that similar abuses do not occur in the future or are cut down in volume as much as possible.

No wonder there is so much ire directed at the Pope–it is a slap in the face to the victims of the abuse if he cannot even accept blame and then go on further to shift the blame, in a misleading manner, onto a group that is already persecuted in part due to the Catholic Church!

On another note, the AP did not provide an expert’s rebuttal to the Cardinal’s claims, which to me is a bit negligent.


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