Whenever issues of alleged "morality" are being discussed, the Catholic Church seems to be front and center: Abortion, birth control, homosexuality, the right to die with dignity, etc. But one can only hope that the moral authority of the Church will be further eroded by the latest report into how the Archdiocese of Dublin "covered up" (read: aided and abetted) the sexual abuse of children by its priests over a period of some 30 years.
I have suggested in past blog posts on this subject that the Catholic clergy might actually be little more than a pedophile ring clothed in white robes. This might sound like hyperbole, but I wonder if it is. The report apparently puts the finger on just over 100 priests, but victim advocate groups say that there are allegations against 172 priests. A count of the number of currently serving priests in the Dublin Archdiocese (I had to count letter by letter from the priests listed on its Web site) comes out at a bit over 600. Of course, over 30 years there has been turnover and there were no doubt more than that, but the number of accused priests and the number of actual priests appear to be the same order of magnitude in statistical terms--and if those who were not caught are factored in, it would appear that a significant percentage of the clergy were involved either in the actual acts or in the coverups.
I am concerned that this worldwide scandal, which seems to have touched nearly every parish and every diocese in Europe and the United States, will continue to be seen as an aberration rather than the Church showing its true face. Catholics, along with non-Catholics, must ask themselves why high officials of the Church engaged in a coverup even though they knew better than anyone how widespread the abuses were. I suspect the answer is that pedophilia is endemic in the Catholic clergy, and not an exception. And that should be no surprise: Any religious order that prohibits its priests from marrying and engaging in normal sexual activity is bound to attract its share of perverted individuals--or to turn men who otherwise would have found healthy outlets for their sexuality into sexual predators.
Image: Front page of the Irish Independent after the release of a report earlier this year into the abuse in Catholic schools for poor and unwanted children.