The Impression Pedophilia is a Catholic Sin

By Kevin Roeten
Opinion Editorials
November 11, 2007

Shockingly, AP breaks out of their typical liberal mold and reports(10/20/07) that sexual abuse of minors has been rampant. But in their statement, they indirectly say members of the Catholic Church are not the majority abusers.

AP discusses the raw numbers from three companies that insure the majority of Protestant churches in America(Church Mutual, GuideOne, and Brotherhood Mutual), and say they typically receive 260 reports/year of young people under 18 being sexually abused. Compare that with ~228 credible accusations/year against Catholic clerics since 1950(abuse records).

Together with that information, it is known that the Catholic Church greatly outnumbers any Protestant churches, and that the data for Protestant churches is available only for the last five years.

Without a doubt, sexual abuse of a minor is one of the most despicable crimes and sins that man can perpetrate. There aren't too many sins one can commit that can compare their sexual abuse. But predators seem to thrive in an atmosphere where the base congregation is one of the most trusted organizations that exist.

Philip Jenkins(History/Religious Studies Professor/ Penn State) in his 1996 book Pedophiles and Priests, 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/Touchstone) 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.

The Catholic Church has always kept good records. It therefore has been a media 'target', but more so because many enjoy 'shooting down' something that may be holier than themselves. But the Episcopal church has a comparable problem, and some of the worst cases have been in fundamentalist and Pentecostal churches(Podles).

Even with the hundreds of cases reported each year by churches, the number probably reported only constitutes half. Gary Schoener(Walk-in Counseling Center/ Minneapolis) continues to say, "Sex abuse in any domain, including the church, is reported seldom."

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(10/20/07) found more than 2,500 cases over five years in which educators were punished for actions from bizarre to sadistic.

AP goes onto say of the 3 million public school teachers nationwide, most are devoted to their work. And no one—the schools, the courts, the state or federal government---has found a dependable way to keep molesting teachers out of classrooms.

Mary Jo McGrath(California lawyer evaluating 30 years of sexual abuse in schools) says, "From my own experience…I think every school in the nation has at least one perpetrator." One report mandated by Congress estimated that as many as 4.5 million students are subject to sexual misconduct by a school employee at least once between kindergarten and the 12th grade.

The AP investigation reveals efforts to stop offenders, but found a deeply entrenched resistance towards fighting abuse. (Jacoby/Townhall) rightly poses the point that the same sort of outcry that came with Catholic sexual abuse of children has not existed with public school teachers.

The problem of sexual abuse seems much bigger than the American public will admit. They really don't want to admit that, as despicable as Catholic abuse is, it seems only the tip of the iceberg. And finally, it seems as though the public has the wrong definition of pedophilia.

As Jacoby states, "Sexual abuse of children and young adults is not the result of religious dogmas that wrongly suppress sexual desires, but it is the result of man's sinful nature, of his twisted desires, and of his hunger to satisfy himself. It is encouraged(often promoted) by a culture that so often revels in sexual freedom without responsibility."

Does anyone remember the quote "Do not chastise one for the splinter in his own eye, when there is a log in yours."? Do you know what your kid is doing?


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