Important to understand:
1. Many claims of abuse are exaggerated.
2. Many claims are against deceased priests who cannot defend themselves.
3. The Church has already taken MANY steps, and continue to do so, to correct wrongs, and to prevent abuse from taking place, including child protection programs that involve laity. The responsibility for preventing abuse belongs to ALL of us.
4. The Church has done so much to prevent abuse from happening again that it is now one of the safest places to be.
5. Abuse in the Church is ONE symptom of the overall DISEASE that afflicts society. Abuse is EVERYWHERE — in our schools, in non-Catholic churches, in our families, in Hollywood, in day care, in sports teams, etc. There’s enough blame to go around, but it’s not surprising that the spotlight for the last couple of decades has been on the Church, because we tend to hold the clergy to a higher standard than we do other adults in positions of authority. Whether that’s fair or not, you decide.
6. Transparency and honesty are needed EVERYWHERE, not just the Church, if we are to stop the cycle of abuse.
In case it helps, some links:
– The Nature and Scope of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests and Deacons in the United States 1950-2002: A Research Study Conducted by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice:
– The Causes and Context of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests in the United States, 1950-2010: A Report Presented to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice Research Team http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/child-and-youth-protection/upload/The-Causes-and-Context-of-Sexual-Abuse-of-Minors-by-Catholic-Priests-in-the-United-States-1950-2010.pdf
– March 2015 Report on the Implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People
– Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors articles: