What did you expect from a study paid for by the Catholic Bishops.
Miamiherald: The counterculture caused stressed out priests to sin. This is the banal and evasive conclusion of a five-year study costing almost $2 million that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops commissioned to look into the causes and context of the sexual abuse of minors by the church’s clergy.From Public Television's Religion and Ethics Newsweekly, the story and great discussion:
The study was prepared by researchers at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York. One particular conclusion stood out: “Social and cultural changes in the 1960s and 1970s manifested in increased levels of deviant behavior in the general society and also among priests of the Catholic Church in the United States.”
No single cause was found for the abuse, nor could it be predicted, the study maintained. If that sounds like absolution for church leadership, you are reading the report as intended. So we’re to believe that priests were simply swept along with the rest of society as drug use increased, premarital sex became more acceptable and divorce more common? Oh, the horrors of the Summer of Love!
The problem is that child molestation by priests — and the systematic cover-up of their crimes by church hierarchy — has been exposed as a global phenomenon. How well does generalized “deviance” explain trends in sexual abuse that happened in South Africa, Ireland, Germany and other countries worldwide? Surely the divorce and crime rates didn’t play out in the same way in all of these countries the way they did in the United States.