December 07, 2005

Don't forget female victims of priest sexual abuse

Cincinnati (OH)
Cincinnati Enquirer

By Gerard J. Ahrens

Much has been made of the Vatican's seminary investigation and pronouncement apparently designed to purge the priesthood of homosexuals ("Catholics still conflicted over gays," Nov. 28). The stated purpose of these actions appears to be an attempt to address the horrendous scandal of sexual abuse of minors by priests.

Even if church leaders are again successful, as they have been many times throughout history, in convincing the faithful to disregard scientific truth - i.e., in this case that pedophilia and homosexuality are not necessarily related concepts - the undeniable fact will remain that this purported remedy for this abuse crisis completely ignores the fact that about 20 percent of the victims of clergy sexual molestation are female.

How can the all-male Catholic hierarchy once again so blatantly devalue and disregard the experience of women?

Perhaps a better question would be: How could we expect anything different? Even if we give the originators of this absurd "final solution" the benefit of the doubt and we do not conclude that their obliviousness to female victims simply manifests their ancient prejudicial notion of woman as blameworthy temptress, we are still left with the question: How, by any stretch of the imagination, could the elimination of homosexuals from the priesthood protect females from clergy sexual abuse?

Posted by kshaw at December 7, 2005 07:32 AM