An Australian commission report on the sexual abuse of minors says that 7 percent of priests who worked in Australia between 1950 and 2009 had an accusation of child sexual abuse made against him. It recommended, among other things, that the Catholic Church end mandatory celibacy, saying it is tied to sexual abuse.
The 7 percent figure is virtually meaningless: what matters are cases of alleged abuse that have been substantiated. For instance, in the U.S., between 1950 and 2002, accusations of abuse were made against 4 percent of the clergy. But only half were substantiated.
In other words, the real number was half the reported figure; that may be true in Australia as well.
Citing celibacy dodges several issues. The rate of sexual abuse of minors among Protestant clergy in the U.S. is at least as high, if not higher, than exists among Catholic priests. Most of them are married. What about stepfathers? It is not celibacy that is driving their numbers.
Most significant, are calls for ending mandatory celibacy a nice way of saying that there are too many homosexuals in the Catholic clergy? If so, the commission should come right out and say so.
We do know that in the U.S., 81 percent of the clergy victims were male, and 78 percent were postpubescent, meaning that homosexuals committed most of the abuse; less than 5 percent of the abusers were determined to be pedophiles (see the John Jay College of Criminal Justice reports on this subject).
Though it is not considered polite to say so, most people know that homosexuals are responsible for the lion’s share of the problem in the Catholic Church. This includes those who insist they are gay-friendly.
“Look, it’s a fact of life. Priests, a lot of times, molest boys. Okay? They are celibate and it’s a magnet for homosexual pedophiles.” The author of those words is Bill Maher, made on August 9, 2000.
It’s time we dealt with this issue honestly, free of political considerations.