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← [UPDATE] Priest sex abuse scandal was temporary problem, study finds

SeanSantos's Avatar Jump to comment 17 by SeanSantos

I have an amazingly huge huge huge problem with this report. The last paragraph of the section on "period effects" (pages 36-37) follows.

For the Causes and Context study, the social indicators found to be most relevant to the modeling of the change in incidence of sexual abuse are divorce, use of illegal drugs, and crime. Sexual abuse of a minor by a Catholic priest is an individual deviant act—an act by a priest that serves individual purposes and that is completely at odds or opposed to the principles of the institution. Divorce is an act also made for personal reasons that negates the institution of marriage. Illegal drug use and criminal acts violate social and legal norms of conduct, presumably at the will of the offender. The recorded or reported incidence of each of these factors increased by 50 percent between 1960 and 1980. If the data for the annual divorce rate are compared to data for the annual rate of homicide and robbery, the time-series lines move in tandem. From stable levels in 1965, the rates increase sharply to a peak at or soon after 1980 and then begin to fall. This pattern is indicative of the period effects that can be seen in the Nature and Scope data on the incidence of sexual abuse by priests.

This is the entirety of the connection drawn between sexual abuse by priests on the one hand, and divorce on the other. The only sources sited here simply acknowledge that these things happened in and around the 70's. All they say is that these things happened at the same time, and insert some language that is blatant pandering to the Catholic Church's desire to draw a false equivalence between the "deviance" of divorce and pre-marital sex, and the "deviance" of child rape. They imply that there is therefore a causal link, with no explanation of what that link is, or what evidence they have for it.

I'm not ready to trust a report that blames child rape by priests, on a culture promoting a sexual liberation that the Church vehemently opposed, based on nothing more substantial than "Well, they happened at the same time..."

Thu, 19 May 2011 04:00:57 UTC | #628281