Ho boy. It's going to be fun to see the response to this one:
In a defiant and provocative statement, issued following a meeting of the UN human rights council in Geneva, the Holy See said the majority of Catholic clergy who committed such acts were not paedophiles but homosexuals attracted to sex with adolescent males.
The statement, read out by Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican's permanent observer to the UN, defended its record by claiming that "available research" showed that only 1.5%-5% of Catholic clergy were involved in child sex abuse.
He also quoted statistics from the Christian Scientist Monitor newspaper to show that most US churches being hit by child sex abuse allegations were Protestant and that sexual abuse within Jewish communities was common.
We're not so bad, at least not as bad as those child molestin' Protestant whores! And the Jews... don't get us started, don't even get us started!
Only 5% of priests have touched those beautiful, barely-11 (seriously, that's the line the Church is drawing) boys' bodies. That's about the chance Britney Spears has underwear on! *rimshot*
I don't know what they're talking about with the Jews, but the Christian Science Monitor had this to say about Protestants (in 2002):
Dr. Shupe suggests the 70 allegations-per-week figure actually could be higher, because underreporting is common. He discovered this in 1998 while going door to door in Dallas-Ft. Worth communities where he asked 1,607 families if they'd experienced abuse from those within their church. Nearly 4 percent said they had been victims of sexual abuse by clergy. Child sexual abuse was part of that, but not broken out, he says.
James Cobble, executive director of CMR, who oversees the survey, says the data show that child sex-abuse happens broadly across all denominations- and that clergy aren't the major offenders.
"The Catholics have gotten all the attention from the media, but this problem is even greater with the Protestant churches simply because of their far larger numbers," he says.
Of the 350,000 churches in the US, 19,500 - 5 percent - are Roman Catholic. Catholic churches represent a slightly smaller minority of churches in the CMR surveys which aren't scientifically random, but "representative" demographic samples of churches, Dr. Cobble explains.
Since 1993, on average about 1 percent of the surveyed churches reported abuse allegations annually. That means on average, about 3,500 allegations annually, or nearly 70 per among the predominantly Protestant group, Cobble says.
The scandal wasn't just about the fact that there was child molestation going on in the Church, it was also about the fact that the Church covered it up for years, moving priests with issues with children from one church to another, and refusing to accept responsibility. Saying other religions are just as bad (because the "my religion is better" debate is definitely one worth getting into) doesn't respond at all and shows that they either don't get why people are mad at them or that they're just not going to make the necessary changes.
Of course, a rabbi had the smartest thing to say in response:
Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, head of the New York Board of Rabbis, said: "Comparative tragedy is a dangerous path on which to travel. All of us need to look within our own communities. Child abuse is sinful and shameful and we must expel them immediately from our midst."
Instead of opening up to the public, the Church has responded with homophobia, which will do nothing to prevent child molestation. They explain more here about why they're going down that path:
The statement said that rather than paedophilia, it would "be more correct" to speak of ephebophilia, a homosexual attraction to adolescent males.
"Of all priests involved in the abuses, 80 to 90% belong to this sexual orientation minority which is sexually engaged with adolescent boys between the ages of 11 and 17."
I'm guessing the reason they want to make that distinction clear is because they think they can blame it on gay people, not pedophiles. Which they'll then use to justify their homophobia.
I don't know if their numbers are correct there about who's been the victim, but I would guess that if the teens were more likely to be male, and we're not talking about pedophiles who are attracted to kids in ways that aren't accurately described as "homosexual" or "heterosexual" or "bisexual," it's probably because most Catholic priests are gay. Forcing them in the closet isn't going to help the situation much. Having actual disciplinary procedures that are open to public scrutiny, as well as officially allowing them to have relationships out in the open, would help.
That's if the problem is as the Church defines it, which should be doubted since the Catholic Church hasn't historically been on the side of science.
Update: Cathy Renna points to an informative article in the comments from USA Today:
About 79% of those who allege sexual abuse by clergy are male, according to a USA TODAY review of data on more than 1,300 victims.
So it's not surprising that some would assume a gay connection, says A.W. Richard Sipe, a retired La Jolla, Calif., psychotherapist and ex-priest. Sipe has done what's believed to be the longest-term, largest study on priests' sexuality, following 1,000 priests for up to 25 years. He's the author of three books on celibacy and the priesthood.
He emphasizes that enforced celibacy makes the priesthood a very different social milieu from the world outside. Priests become sexually frustrated, so some turn to children in desperation. "There's strong psychological research showing that sexual deprivation can lead a person to turn to children," says Sipe.
And boys have always been far more accessible to priests than girls -- on camping trips and athletic fields, in classrooms and as altar boys.
Sipe's study suggests that about 6% of priests have sex with minors, choosing boys over girls by a 3-1 ratio. But he found no tie between sexual abuse and homosexuality, and says gay priests were no more likely than straight priests to break vows of celibacy.[...]
Boys and girls were equally likely to have been molested by priests in a national survey of therapists who had treated clergy-related sex abuse, says University of Illinois psychologist Bette Bottoms, who did the survey.
Church officials this fall plan visitations of U.S. seminaries, after reports that a homosexual atmosphere in some discourages heterosexuals from studying for the priesthood.
Targeting gays wouldn't address the problem of pedophilia, says Berlin, but he notes that child sexual abuse is overwhelmingly committed by males.
"I respect their religious beliefs," he adds, "but you're going to see the least risk of all to children from female priests."
It's impossible to know the gender of everyone who's been molested, for obvious reasons. But it would be nice if the Church released their data that says 80-90% of the victims are male, but I doubt that'll happen.