High Percentages Suspect Abuse

By Patsy McGarry
One in Four
Downloaded March 14, 2004

Polls conducted in Bolivia, Colombia and Mexico have found that where child sex abuse is concerned 58 per cent of Mexican Catholics, 55 per cent in Colombia and 46 per cent in Bolivia believe priests abuse minors "frequently".

Just 7 per cent of Mexicans, 5 per cent of Colombians and 4 per cent of Bolivians believe their priests never commit such abuse.

It also established that Catholics in those countries want the church to help the poor but reject its intrusions into politics. The poll was conducted on behalf of the US-based Catholics For a Free Choice group, as well as its equivalent in the three countries.

Its findings were presented at a press conference in Santiago, Chile, yesterday, on the eve of a meeting of the Economic Commission of Latin America and the Caribbean ad-hoc Committee on Population and Development.

The meeting continues until Sunday and marks the 10th anniversary of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo.

Catholics make up 95 per cent of the population in Bolivia, 90 per cent in Colombia and 89 per cent in Mexico. The poll was undertaken last year by three separate companies, in each country.

Findings included: 91 per cent of Catholics in Colombia and Mexico, as well as 79 per cent of Catholics in Bolivia, believe adults should have access to artificial means of contraception; while 96 per cent of Catholics in Colombia and Mexico, as well as 91 per cent in Bolivia, believe these should be supplied free by public health services.

On abortion, 60 per cent of Catholics in Mexico, 56 per cent in Bolivia and 49 per cent in Colombia believe it should be allowed in all or some circumstances; while 93 per cent of Catholics in all three countries believe public hospitals should provide post-abortion care to women.


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