Friday, 01 December As Catholics, we need to admit to this scandal, offer our love, compassion, and prayers to the victims, and remain diligent with regard to the protection of youth.
But we cannot stop there. As difficult as this issue is, people need to know what did and what did not happen in the past. The John Jay studies focused on allegations made between and There is a legal, psychological, and logical difference between pedophilia attraction to pre-pubescent children and the sexual abuse of older minors that has been recognized for centuries in Western civilization. It is reasonable to continue to make that distinction when discussing this issue.
The frequency of sexual abuse in the United States has not been thoroughly studied by researchers. Therefore, the best we can do is to refer to estimates provided by experts and those who work with victims: This estimate includes all forms of sexual abuse from pedophilia to the abuse of post-pubescent youth to the abuse of adults and elderly.
Again, this is estimate regarding all sex abuse, not specifically pedophiles or those who abuse older minors. By , each diocese within the United States had already begun implementing measures and programs to ensure the best possible protection for youth and young people, and this has continued since.
Today, the vast majority of U. Since , reports of sexual abuse by priests in the United States has declined significantly due to the measures implemented in each diocese, and most of the new reports are related to incidents which happened prior to The Annual Report also shows that the Church is averaging fewer than five new reports of sexual abuse of minors being reported within the American Catholic Church each year.
The takeaway is this: There are many reasons why this problem was overlooked, not the least of which is because the problem was worse in society at-large. But once the Church responded, the occurrence of abuse of minors by officials within the Catholic Church was nearly eliminated. Unfortunately, the abuse of minors remains a serious problem in society at-large, with serious problems of sex-trafficking, including pedophile rings, which are largely ignored by the media and entertainment industries.
We all want children to be protected, but because we are all human, there will always be the risk of harm. The reality is that children are less likely to be harmed in a Catholic Church or Catholic School than any other large institution in the United States. The numbers prove it.