Catholic Dads Must Go to Church to Prevent Sex Abuse By Clergy


December 20, 2018

By Patrick A. Coleman

The Catholic community, in America and abroad, is grappling with the horrific details put forth in a new report from the Illinois Attorney General claiming that church officials covered up for over 500 priests accused of abuse, releasing a public document with 185 names on it after compiling a list of 690 priests. The Illinois report followed on the heals of a Pennsylvania grand jury report claiming over 1,000 victims of rape and sexual predation were ignored or actively silenced by church leaders, many of whom sheltered the perpetrators of awful crimes. Though both reports are devastating in their details, neither is shocking. Catholic clergy have a history of raping kids and the church has a history of covering it up.

The practical question the report forces Catholic parents of young children to answer is one parents in the church have faced before: Does my family’s participation in church life jeopardize the safety of my kids? Given that the reports out of Illinois and Pittsburgh follow revelations of a similar nature in Boston, Ireland, Kenya, the Philippines, and Croatia, we must entertain the notion that the answer is “yes.”

As such, many Catholic parents like myself are reconsidering how they engage with churches and religious institutions. Some will walk away. I will not. Instead, I will double down on my involvement in church matters because I’m aware that the presence of a father tremendously diminishes the likelihood of harm befalling a children. Pedophiles disproportionately targeted children with absent fathers. This seems to be particularly true of priests. As such, I see my consistent presence as a prerequisite for my children’s involvement in church life.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.