Ex-Priest Turned Expert on Sex Abuse Explains Reasoning of Foley Priest

KAIT [Florida]

The priest who says he was naked in the sauna with a young Mark Foley insists that "everybody does that." And he doesn't think there's anything unusual about going on overnight trips with a young boy.

Why would the Reverend Anthony Mercieca (mur-see-AY'-kuh) say such things? A former priest who studies the sexual practices of priests has an explanation.

According to Richard Sipe, abusive priests often deny their activities are sexual. He says they often manage to convince themselves that only intercourse itself would violate their vows of celibacy.

Sipe spent 18 years as a priest and Benedictine monk. He's gone on to study sex abuse in the church, has testified in trials, and has written books including "Sex, Priests and Power."

According to Sipe, one problem in the way priests view sex is what he calls a "lack of development." He says they don't reason about sex the same as other adults.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.