Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Phew! We're not the only ones

Thus describes the relief expressed by some U.S. bishops that sex abuse is just as bad everywhere else as it is in the church.

Say that again?

That's right, the new John Jay study tracking sex abuse in the U.S. church reports that the increase in sex abuse in the church mirrors that in the rest of society. Even more, the study's author, Karen Terry, suggested, according to the Baltimore Sun that it was "not something distinct about the church that led to the abuse." She went on to express the desire to (quoting the Sun) "better understand the connection between societal changes--including attitudes about sex and homosexuality--and the jump in reports of sexual abuse by priests."

Huh? Tagging the gays again, eh? What connection could there possibly be? That the sexual revolution caused more sex abuse, or that it led to people reporting sex abuse? It is disturbing that, for no apparent reason, Terry felt like she had to mention homosexuality, forgetting once again that most pedophiles are married heterosexual men and that most victims of sexual abuse and assault are female.

What good may come out of this is the recognition that the sexual abuse of children is pervasive in society and goes well beyond the Catholic church. Now the church has the opportunity to be a model and advocate for stamping this kind of abuse out. Will the bishops rise to the challenge?

Well, since they're getting ready to elect Francis George of Chicago as president, who hardly has a spotless record in this regard (you can read Chicago Sun-Times coverage here), I doubt it's going to be high on the agenda.

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