The Catholic Church has moved to address the scandal of child molestation by priests by, among other initiatives, providing more thorough reports on the crisis. These reports, which do not conflict with other secular research, show, significantly, that despite all the attention the controversy has received, pedophile priests are far less numerous than deviants in other places of employment than the church—public schools for example.
Nonetheless, in delegating some of the research tasks to academics, the Bishops risk casting the drama in politically correct terms and misdiagnosing the malady. This could prove problematic as the low numbers of abuse cases are only the known ones and take many years to surface. Much of the reserach that America’s bishops rely on comes from John Jay College in Manhattan.
“But there is one remaining problem,” William Donahue of the Catholic League writes of the Bishops’ March dispatch. “Nowhere in the report does it even mention the word ‘homosexual,’ but there are 14 mentions of ‘pedophile’ and 12 citations of ‘ephebophile.’”
“Yet fully 81 percent of the victims are male, and most are postpubescent males,” Donahue notes. “This is properly called homosexuality.” Donahue is the president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights.
“The term ‘ephebophile,’ meaning sex with older teenagers, is rarely used by experts outside the Catholic Church, and in any event is an ideologically coined term,” Donahue explains. “It is not for nothing that the term is never used to refer to heterosexual acts.”
“By the way, the 81 percent figure is the exact figure that was found previously,” Donahue writes in The Catalyst of the proportion of victims of clerical abuse who were boys.
“To put it differently, the John Jay report covering the years 1950-2002 found that 81 percent of the victims were male—the same figure reported in the audit for 2005.” This is significant because it shows that liberal reforms to address the problem are ineffectual at best.
“So much for the positively stupid argument that has been floating around for years that the reason why there are so few female victims is because priests only had access to altar boys until recently,” Donahue observes. “Well, it’s been 12 years since girl altar servers became a reality, yet it’s still the males that the molesters want.”
“Many times have I said that while most gay priests are not molesters, most of the molesters are gay,” Donahue writes. “While it is true the Vatican has taken steps to address this reality, it remains sadly true that some of those providing reports and advice to the bishops are still living in a state of absolute denial.”
Malcolm A. Kline is the executive director of Accuracy in Academia.