Abuse of Power Comes as No Surprise:The Causes and Context of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests

by Frances Kissling

This past week, criminologists at the John Jay College of Criminal Law released a numbers crunching, statistically dense, spiritually troubling 144 page report which aimed to identify the causes and context of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests between 1950 to 2002. The report was commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops who have developed a partnership with John Jay College in their efforts to understand and prevent the sexual abuse of children by priests and sisters subsequent to the Boston Globe’s 2002 expose of the extent of sexual abuse and the inaction and cover up of the abuse by church leaders. It cost somewhere between 1.4 and 1.8 million dollars, half paid by the bishops’ conference, the other half underwritten by religious orders and Catholic organizations. Continue Reading →

Upgrading to Homos

The Catholic League’s president, Bill Donohue, has written all of us a long letter which features in a full page ad in today’s New York Times.  Criticism of the church is outlandishly overblown, he argues, citing Philip Jenkins, a 2004 John Jay study (funded by the USCCB), and Robert S. Bennett of the Catholic National Review Board; he laments “assaults on priests” by the likes of George Lopez and the ladies at The View. Continue Reading →

Anglican Schism and the Future of Christian Communities

At the end of a brief post yesterday about failure of bishops to solve the potential schism that ordination of women may cause in the Anglican communion, Joanna Brooks asks this question: “Will diverging perspectives on gender and sexuality determine the shape of the 21st-century Christian world?”

It’s a question that only begs more:  Does sweeping change cause schism or does incremental change cause it as well?  Why would the divide last the next 90 years?  How would a shift of Anglican-Catholics to Vatican loyalty change the Catholic Church?  The Anglican Church?  What will all this church resistance to cultural change mean for equality in the future?

For more on the issue, read “The Church of England’s War Within Over Women Bishops” by ; “Vatican to Equate Women’s Ordination with Priest’s Pedophilia” by Mary E. Hunt; “Jeffrey John and the Global Anglican Schism: A Potted History”. Continue Reading →