A contributing factor: Supply and demand
Rarely is the concept of “supply and demand” cited as a contributing factor to the church’s on-going clergy sex abuse and cover up crisis. But it should be.
A university professor writes in the National Catholic Reporter today: “Fewer than 26,265 diocesan priests remain in the U.S. today and of them, only 68 percent -- about 17,900 -- are still in active ministry. Only about one-third as many new priests are being ordained each year to make up for the ones who are retiring, dying or leaving active ministry.”
“Dioceses now have one retired priest for every two active priests, and half of all priests in active ministry are over the age of 60. Half of all priests currently in active ministry also expect to retire by 2019.”
Yet the number of Catholics in the US continues to climb.
Wonder why bishops still cling to and shield sexually troubled seminarians and priests? Now more than ever, bishops desperately need clerics. So they must be very tempted to give seminarians and priests every possible “benefit of the doubt” and “second chances.”
And now more than ever, 30 years after the first pedophile priest in the US made national headlines, bishops know they’ll never be defrocked, demoted, disciplined or even denounced by their supervisors or colleagues no matter how recklessly and callously and secretively and deceptively they deal with predator priests.