March 03, 2006

Clergy Sexual Abuse: Facts, Myths and Questions

The Tidings

By Rev. Thomas J. Reese, SJ
Second of two parts; 15th in a series.

Myths About the Church
Myth: The abuse is a result of the seminary training after the Second Vatican Council (1963-65). Fact: Almost 70 percent of the abusive priests were ordained before 1970, after attending pre-Vatican II seminaries or seminaries that had had little time to adapt to the reforms of Vatican II.

Myth: This problem is unique to the Catholic Church: Fact: The John Jay report notes that in the period 1992-2000, the number of substantiated sexual abuse cases in American society as a whole has been between 89,355 and 149,800 annually. At a minimum, this number for one year is eight times the total number of alleged abuses in the church over a period of 52 years.

Myth: The abuse is still going on at the same rate. Fact: The number of alleged abuses increased in the 1960's, peaked in the 70's, declined in the 80's and by the 90's had returned to the levels of the 1950's.

Posted by kshaw at March 3, 2006 06:24 AM