AP discusses the raw numbers from three companies that insure the majority of protestant churches in America (Church Mutual, Guide One, and Brotherhood Mutual), and typically receive 260 reports/yr of people under 18 being sexually abused. Compare that with ~228 credible accusations/yr against Catholic clerics since 1950 (documented abuse records).
Together with that information, it is known that the Catholic Church greatly outnumbers any specific Protestant denomination, and the data for Protestant churches is available only for the last seven years. Ever since the first sexual abuse cases had been reported, Catholics have had requirements: 1) police background check done on all volunteers--including priests, 2) a second person be present at all religious functions, and 3) all personnel involved with minors must take routine checks with "Protecting God's Children".
Without a doubt, sexual abuse of a minor is one of the most despicable crimes and sins that man can perpetrate. But predators seem to thrive in an atmosphere where the base congregation is one of the most trusted organizations that exist.
Philip Jenkins, in his 1996 book Pedophiles and Priests, [[link edited for length]], looked at the problem objectively and dispassionately. Jenkins (who is not Catholic) found that true pedophilia is extremely rare, and perhaps more common among Protestant clergy, and is even more common among married laymen.
He found that in most sexual abuse cases (under the age of consent), the behavior is actually a variety of homosexuality. This sexual attraction with very young men that combine the charm of boyishness with sexual maturity is actually called ephebophilia. Pedophilia is really a psychiatric term meaning sexual interest in children below the age of puberty.
True pedophilia (Leon Podles/ Clergy Sexual Misconduct: Just a Catholic Problem?) occurs most often within families. Celibacy removes most Catholic priests from those types of temptations, and clergy in churches that do not require celibacy have the same (if not worse) problems.
But it has been a media target for any child abuse. More so because many enjoy 'shooting down' something they believe to be "holier than thou". But the Episcopal Church has a comparable problem, and some of the worst abuse cases have been in fundamentalist and Pentecostal churches [[link edited for length]].
Up until the AP report, comprehensive studies were only done on the Catholic Church. The rate for school teachers, residential home-counselors, social workers, or even scoutmasters, never existed because they had no method of accounting for sexual abuse. But the recent AP investigation found more than 2,500 cases over five years in which educators were punished for actions from bizarre to sadistic. (Jacoby/Townhall) rightly states the same sort of outcry that came with Catholic sexual abuse has not existed with public school teachers.
It seems obvious that the legit but skewed condemnation of the Catholic Church is likely coming from the devil, himself. It's only logical his first and sometimes only, victim would be the church with the correct answers.
The problem of sexual abuse seems much bigger than the public will admit. And abuse from church organizations seems to be the minority. Reported sexual abuse seems only the tip of the iceberg. As despicable as Catholic abuse is, it is no where near just a Catholic problem. And finally, it seems as though the public has the wrong impression of who's responsible for accusations of ephebophilia.
And they don't seem to be able to know the differences in phobias, either.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Kevin Roeten can be reached at email@example.com.
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Posted By: Walt Thiessen
Date: 2009-08-14 19:12:13
You wrote: "Jenkins (who is not Catholic) found that true pedophilia is extremely rare...."
Based on what evidence? The book you cited was published in 1966. As recently as the late 1980s, most medical authorities believed that sexual abuse of children was virtually unheard of. It wasn't until they began to systematically survey people with weight problems that they found out that, not only is sexual abuse much more prevalent than previously expected, it also is a major component in obesity. See my July 2009 article on the subject for more information.
I wouldn't trust a 1966 book to accurately gauge the level of pedophilia in society.
child abuse occurs in all religions all over the world. the issue here is that the catholic church refuses to allow their priests to go to court or serve time in jail. imams, rabbis, and ministers have gone to jail for child abuse - there was no large organization like the vatican that stopped them from facing justice. all the catholic church has to do is publicly condemn these priests and stop hiding them from courts. like other religions have done. then they will stop being villified in the press.
It's best to check your facts again, as well as your resources. Child abuse, or pedophilia, occurs most often within families. "Ephebophilia" is what many churches have a problem with----IF you properly absorbed the above column.
Your information is incorrect about the Catholic Church refusing their priests to serve time in court, or even to go to jail. I, personally, teach high schoolers religious education. I've been doing that for the past seven years, at which time to start I had to get a police check on if my past if it involved ANY child abuse.
The Vatican does not stop anyone from facing justice. All checks are all done at the dioscesan headquarters anyway. If any priests are in fact guilty of ephebophilia, then it's common knowledge to everyone, and they answer for their crimes.
What other religions have ever 'condemned' their staff publicly for a sexual crime? What, or who, is your source for the information you have? Who have you talked to for this alleged info? Are you an instructor, or do you have access to the young folk in churches where you are privy to this info?
I guess you decided to cast the first stone anyway, huh?