Bill Donohue comments on an editorial in today’s Washington Post:

“On the most explosive and morally subversive challenge facing the Roman Catholic Church—clerical sexual abuse of children, and the bishops who tolerate it—Pope Francis has said the right things but done too little.”

This remarkable comment is the first sentence in an editorial in today’s Washington Post. The newspaper is living in a time warp. It cited not a single piece of new evidence, resting solely on a book by an Italian journalist that covers cases extending back over a half century ago. To make matters worse, Crux editor John Allen Jr. noted the author’s “sloppiness with facts,” about which the Washington Post is either unaware of or simply doesn’t care to mention.


What’s the source of my comment? The Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate and the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Independently, they represent the most authoritative accounts of priestly sexual abuse.

The timeline of the abuse scandal is 1965-1985; it was during that period that the lion’s share of the problem occurred. Not to acknowledge this is to feed a vicious stereotype, one that suggests this issue is an on-going problem in the Church.

In fact, no institution has a better record on this issue today than the Catholic Church. The most recent data, collected between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015, shows there were seven substantiated allegations against clergy for the sexual abuse of minors made by current minors. Given that the data covered priests (35,987) and deacons (16,251), this means that .01 percent of the 52,238 members of the clergy had a substantiated allegation made against him.

Will the Washington Post admit that 99.99 percent of the clergy had no such accusation made against him? Not on your life.

The Washington Post also engages in fake news: there is no crisis now—nor was there ever one—involving the sexual abuse of children. That is a lie and a cover-up. The John Jay studies reveal that less than 5 percent of the victims were prepubescent. In fact, 78 percent of the males who were abused were postpubescent, and since all the victimizers were male, that means that homosexuality—not pedophilia—is at the root of the scandal.

The Washington Post needs to do its homework and stop advancing invidious stereotypes. Living in a time warp is bad enough, but when it affects innocent persons, it is pernicious.

Contact Fred Hiatt, editorial page editor:

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