Catholic Sex Abuse

Catholic Sex abuse

Catholic Sex Abuse

Over the years there have been rumors about how prevalent sexual abuse is found in the Roman Catholic Church. We’ve often wondered how much truth there is in these reports. After all, people are often prone to believe the worse about such things.

However, over the past several decades there have been more and more studies that do indicate that Catholic priests and other Catholic leaders have indeed been guilty of such shameful sins as homosexuality, fornication, and pedophilia. I remember that reports came from Ireland that Catholic leaders there were guilty of massive sexual abuse of children in orphans’ homes and further accounts have surfaced from other countries. But in America many additional accounts have come to light of this clergy sexual abuse.

A recent article in the local newspaper was entitled, “Church Covered Up Child Abuse in Pennsylvania for Decades, Jury Says” (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, August 15, 2018). This article charges Catholic hierarchy as follows: “ Bishops and other leaders of the  Roman Catholic Church in Pennsylvania covered up child sexual abuse by more than 200 priests over a period of 70 years, persuading victims not to report the abuse and police officers not to investigate it, according to a report issued by a grand jury Tuesday.”

We know that the media is not always accurate and sometimes it is actually slanted against religion, thus we can’t assume that every word of this report is totally correct. But it does say something that we should be aware of.

This was no small investigation and no small number of people were involved. The article continues: “The report, which covered six of the state’s eight Catholic dioceses and found more than 1,000 identifiable victims, is the broadest examination yet by a U.S. government agency of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. There have been 10 previous reports by grand juries and attorneys general in the United States.” Shockingly, “the report catalogs horrific instances of abuse, including a priest who raped a young girl in the hospital after she had her tonsils out, and another priest who was allowed to stay in ministry after impregnating a 17-year-old girl, forging a signature on a marriage certificate and then divorcing the girl.”

The grand jury claims, “Priests were raping little boys and girls, and the men of God who were responsible for them not only did nothing; they hid it all. For decades.” We might well ask, “How could all of this be possible? Aren’t priests bound to secrecy? Are they not bound to be absolutely pure and undefiled? Aren’t they trustworthy and good? If there happens to be “a bad apple in the barrel” won’t this come out and be made public? No, it appears that all of this was “swept under the rug” so that the public would not be informed of the magnitude of the problem! And some 1,000 children suffered grievous harm in the process (and that’s all that the jury could find).

Were these priests removed from their positions? Often not. The report charges: “’Tell his parishioners that he is on “sick leave.” ‘Or say nothing at all,’ the report said. Attorney General Josh Shapiro, whose office conducted the investigation, said in a news conference, ‘They protected their institution at all costs. As the grand jury found, the church showed a complete disdain for victims.’”

The Pennsylvania grand jury involved in the investigation continued for two years, “reviewed 50,000 documents from the disceses’ secret archives and heard testimony from dozens of victims and the bishop of Erie.” “Two of the dioceses—Greensburg and Harrisburg—tried to quash the grand jury investigation last year but later backed off that stance.”

We are aware that there have been instances of child abuse—of both boys and girls—and instances of fornication and homosexuality—in many different religious groups over the years. But doesn’t it seem to you that this gross immorality was particularly widespread and endemic in this case? And this was not individual instances of sexual abuse here and there, but it was something accepted and covered up by Catholic bishops and other leaders!

We may not understand the reasons for this amount of wickedness and cruel immorality among the clergy, and probably there were multiple reasons. But could part of this have to do with the unscriptural Catholic requirement of celibacy? According to Paul the apostle, “Because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband” (1 Corinthians 7:2). Further, the apostle says that it is an absolute requirement that an “overseer” (episcopos, bishop) must be “the husband of one wife” (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6). In other words, one who becomes an overseer (an elder or shepherd) in an assembly must be married! (And further, must also have children (Titus 1:6; 1 Timothy 3:4-5).

We know that there are many benefits to being single or celibate when one is an evangelist (1 Corinthians 7). But, at the same time, we must not overlook the requirement that the “overseer” (the one overseeing local assemblies) must be married with children. We are also aware that there are so many differences between the Catholic practice and what is found in Scripture, thus it is somewhat hard to find similarities between the two situations. But we can know enough to conclude that Catholic enforced celibacy may be a contributing factor in this pedophilia problem (as well as adult priestly homosexuality and fornication).

We need to encourage all of our readers to be aware that all of these sexual sins are “deeds of the flesh” that will keep one out of the kingdom—unless he repents (Galatians 5:19-21 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-10). In other words, having sex with anyone other than a legitimate wife is considered fleshly and God severely condemns such sin. Obviously, a person can genuinely repent and renounce this immorality, but we must not simply slap an offender on the wrist and allow him to go out and find another victim!

If you happen to be a Catholic yourself, we encourage you to not just dismiss this as an aberration. No, it is much too widespread than this. We also encourage you to study all of the information we have given about the many, many different Catholic false teachings and false practices. Now is the time to renounce all of this and come back to the Scriptures, God’s infallible and authoritative Word. This is the real rule of life and practice for all!

For those of you who wish to study further into the false teachings and false practices of Roman Catholicism, please see:

The Catholic Church: A Friendly Discussion with Our Catholic Friends



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