Voices from Russia

Friday, 12 December 2014

Landmark Catholic Report Admits Celibacy Could Cause Child Abuse

01 child abuse

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A group of Australian archbishops admitted that obligatory celibacy could’ve contributed to child sex abuse in the Catholic Church, becoming the first-ever Catholic institution to acknowledge the potential link publicly. What used to be mostly voiced by the critics of the church has now been, albeit cautiously, formulated by its leaders. The report, released on Friday by the Truth, Justice, and Healing Council, which includes the Archbishops of Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Canberra, and Adelaide, conceded, “Obligatory celibacy may also have contributed to abuse in some circumstances”. The council based its conclusion on two years of research. It held eight hearings, heard testimony from 50 witnesses, and examined 160,000 church documents. According to The Australian, the council’s chief executive, Francis Sullivan, said, “We’ve got to ask the question about whether celibacy was an added and an unbearable strain for some. It doesn’t mean that celibacy needs to be eradicated… let’s not turn the church on its head… but we’re saying you can’t have an honest and open discussion about the future without having an honest and open discussion about celibacy. We’re placing celibacy on the table”. The report says “psychosexual training” for priests could be enough to prevent child abuse in church.

The Australian study is in sharp contrast to American research in 2011, which found no connection between celibacy and child abuse. That report, commissioned by the American Catholic church and carried out by the New-York based John Jay College of Criminal Justice, stated, “The rise in abuse cases was influenced by social factors in society generally”. Critics then questioned if a study commissioned by the church and based on data provided by the church could actually be trusted. The Australian branch is being overwhelmingly self-critical in its report, which focused on what clerics did wrong to let abuse happen. Sullivan said it was important that the church “had the guts” to acknowledge it abused its power, including in dealing with sex scandals. The Australian report said, “Church leaders, over many decades, seemed to turn a blind eye, either instinctively or deliberately, to the abuse happening within their diocese or religious order, protecting the institution, rather than caring for the child”. Victims of child sexual abuse are sceptical that the report can actually change the church’s attitude to the issue, citing previous difficulties in trying to attain justice. Nicky Davis from the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests told ABC*, “The redress in a lot of cases was absolutely disgraceful and very very devious, and done in such a way to exploit the vulnerability and the damage that survivors had already suffered”.

* Australian Broadcasting Corporation

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12 December 2014

RT

http://rt.com/news/213755-catholic-celibacy-child-abuse/?utm_source=browser&utm_medium=aplication_chrome&utm_campaign=chrome

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