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Katie van Schaijik

Weigel on the sex scandals in the Church

Mar. 29, 2010, at 11:50am

This First Things article by George Weigel is worth reading. But I don’t find it entirely satisfying.

It’s not only those who are out to get the Church who are pushing this issue. It’s also those who love her most, and those who have been scandalized and appalled not only by the abuses themselves, but by the wretchedly inadequate response of the bishops so far.

And who can be mollified by statistics showing that the sexual abuse of minors happens as much elsewhere in society as it does in the Church? The outrage is that it was done by priests. It’s very depressing to hear bishops and the Vatican now complaining that the media is out to get them.


Scott Johnston • Mar 29, 2010 - 5:06 pm

I think the most critical piece of information here is just how much the incidents of abuse by priests have been dropping since the late 70’s. From the 90’s on, the rates of new abuse cases have been extremely low.

And again, it is instructive to note that the abuse scandal was primarily one of homosexual priests abusing teenage boys. With better seminary formation and more careful screening, the potential for this sort of abuse has dropped dramatically. Indeed, the Church in America has for the last decade made tremendous progress and continues to do better. I agree with Weigel that there is probably no institution in America today that is more safe and that has been more purified of potential sexual abuse problems than the Catholic Church.

This doesn’t remove the outrage we should have for past abuses and for the bungling in many cases of how bishops reacted. But we should not forget that the situation in the United States currently is really very good.

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