November 07, 2005

96% of abuse is perpetrated by laypeople

Sunday Business Post

06 November 2005 By Vincent Browne
The Catholic hierarchy is now too cowed by the Ferns revelations to make an obvious point about child sexual abuse in Ireland.

That point is that the Catholic clergy - indeed any clergy - are responsible for only a tiny fraction of the abuse - about 3.5 per cent. More than 96 per cent of child sex abuse in Ireland is perpetrated by people who are not priests or nuns or Christian Brothers. It is perpetrated by the class of people, traditionally called ‘the laity'. Of course, there is a special odium attaching to clerical abuse, especially as, in many instances, the abusers have used their position, their authority and their consequent special access as a means of abusing. Not only that, but they have used that status as a means of covering up their crimes.

The fact that the bishops covered up this abuse for fear of scandalising the faithful and diminishing the standing and authority of the Catholic Church is another disgrace.

So let us not diminish the culpability of the Catholic Church for the level of child sexual abuse perpetrated against thousands of children over the years.

Posted by kshaw at November 7, 2005 03:24 PM