Rome- Pope estimates # of predator priests
For immediate release: Sunday, July 13, 2014
Today, Pope Francis called the on-going clergy sex abuse and cover up crises a “leprosy” and said Vatican officials believe that two percent of the world's priests are pedophiles.
Once again, on abuse, Francis talks when he should act.
Enough with the gratuitous and distracting denunciations of clergy sex crimes. It's time for dramatic decisions about the continuing cover ups of those crimes. Increasingly shrill words do not save one boy from being sodomized or one girl from being raped.
There have always been, and will always be, predators in the priesthood. Decreasing their numbers will be harder to do.
There needn't be, however, “enablers” in the church hierarchy. Decreasing their numbers could not be more easier. They should be fired, period. And fired now, not years from now when the latest in a seemingly-endless string of church abuse panels proposes some superfluous protocols. And dozens of them must be fired, not one or two scapegoats.
Finally, “U.S. bishops have reported receiving allegations of abuse by 6,427 priests in 1950-2013, or 5.9% of the 109,694 U.S. priests active 1950-2002, according to the John Jay report. Including the 5,356 priests ordained since 2002 brings the total to 115,050, of whom 5.6% have been accused of abuse,” according to BishopAccountability.org.
Here are more specific numbers, from BishopAccountability.org:
--After the March 2009 release of audit documents by the NH AG, the names of 74 accused Manchester priests are known, or over 8.9% of the 831 diocesan priests, which extrapolates to 9,768 nationally
--Covington diocese states that 9.6% of its priests have been accused, which extrapolates to 10,531 nationally
--Over 10% of Providence RI priests have been accused, which extrapolates to over 10,969 nationally
--Richard Sipe estimates that 9% of U.S. priests have offended, which extrapolates to 9,872 priests nationally
The real percentage of predator priests is of course much higher. And in the far larger developing world – where the power imbalance between clergy and congregants is far greater and where bishops enjoy far more status and deference – we believe the rate is higher still.
No one benefits when the world's top Catholic official mischaracterizes the crisis, by talking often about abuse and rarely about cover up. No one benefits when he minimizes the crisis, by “low balling” estimates of child molesting clerics.
But worst of all, no one benefits when any of us mistake words for deeds or are contented, even the slightest, by the Catholic hierarchy's inexcusable refusal to take meaningful action to protect kids, expose criminals, punish enablers and deter future crimes and cover ups.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years and have more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, [email protected]), Peter Isely (414-429-7259, [email protected]), Joelle Casteix (949-322-7434, [email protected])