Outrageous: Church Blames "Sexual Revolution" Not Celibacy, for Priest Abuse

Disappointing, but not shocking. In its official report on priest abuse, the American Catholic Church  has blamed the spate of priest abuse cases on "Woodstock" rather than anything inherent in the church's structure or teaching.

The New York Times reports:

A five-year study commissioned by the nation’s Roman Catholic bishops to provide a definitive answer to what caused the church’s sexual abuse crisis has concluded that neither the all-male celibate priesthood nor homosexuality were to blame.

Instead, the report says, the abuse occurred because priests who were poorly prepared and monitored, and were under stress, landed amid the social and sexual turmoil of the 1960s and ’70s.

Known occurrences of sexual abuse of minors by priests rose sharply during those decades, the report found, and the problem grew worse when the church’s hierarchy responded by showing more care for the perpetrators than the victims.

The “blame Woodstock” explanation has been floated by bishops since the church was engulfed by scandal in the United States in 2002 and by Pope Benedict XVI after it erupted in Europe in 2010.

Those poor, stressed-out priests. That's why they were so viciously abusive, and the fact that the authorities had their back and would protect them gave them no sense of entitlement whatsoever.

The comments at the Times' article provide excellent rebuttals to this study, pointing out the backwards logic of this report, and that the cultural opening of the 60s may have led to people being more open about confronting abuse in authority, not the abuses themselves. "This church issue is not and has not been about sex, because sexual assault is an *assault.* It is about willfulness and power," one enraged reader writes.

AlterNet / By Sarah Seltzer

Posted at May 18, 2011, 4:39am

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