Abuser priests not pedophiles?

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GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4111
Abuser priests not pedophiles?

Do you agree with this study that priests who abused children who were over 10 years old should not be classified as pedophiles? Do you think it is a problem that is past history or is it a current ongoing problem?

WASHINGTON (AFP) – A study released Wednesday probing the causes of the long-running child sex scandal in the US Catholic church refused to call the abuser priests pedophiles and blamed the abuse on a moral decline in US society.

"Most of the priests who had allegations of abuse are not pedophiles," the lead investigator for the study, Karen Terry of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, told reporters.

"Most of the priests who had allegations of abuse, abused pubescent or post-pubescent minors," said Terry, while the victims of pedophiles are defined in the study as being 10 years old or younger.

The study, commissioned by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops after the church was rocked by a sex scandal with the admission in 2002 by the archbishop of Boston that he had protected a priest he knew to have molested children, said the sex abuse crisis was largely a thing of the past.

"The 'crisis' of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests is a historical problem," with the rise in abuse cases in the 1960s and '70s "influenced by social factors in American society generally," said the report, which covered a 60-year span starting in 1950.

Terry said that the 1960s and '70s were a period that saw "patterns of increased deviance of society", and the church sex abuse scandal developed parallel to that decline in social mores.

"The social influences intersected with vulnerabilities of some individual priests whose preparation for a life of celibacy was inadequate at that time," Terry said.

But the report did not see the Catholic clergy's commitment to celibacy, or the church's exclusively male priesthood as causes of the sex scandal.

Diane Knight, chair of the body of lay Catholics which oversaw the study, said that even if the 1960s and '70s were "a time of upheaval in many areas of society... none of what is included in this report should be interpreted as making excuses for the terrible acts of abuse that occurred."

Bishop Blase Cupich, head of the USCCB Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People, apologized for the "suffering caused when some priests took advantage of their moral authority and abused innocent children in a criminal way."

The church has "a position of zero tolerance" towards clerics who sexually abuse children, added Cupich, vowing to "take whatever action is needed to see that abuse does not recur in the church."

Outside the USCCB building in Washington where the report was presented, a small group of victims who were abused decades ago by priests said the reports tough words against rogue priests and vows to prevent a recurrence of the sex scandal rang hollow.

Becky Ianni, who was abused by a priest from when she was nine until she was 11, slammed the report for "minimizing" the abuse.

"Saying that it happened in the '60s and '70s, it's a product of what was going on at that time, it minimized my abuse," she told AFP.

"And saying pedophilia is only with victims 10 and under -- what about all the other minors that were abused?" she asked.

According to the report, more than 11,000 incidents of sexual abuse of children by priests have been reported since 1950.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/usvaticanreligionchildrensexabuse

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

What Em said x2.

Joined: 03/14/09
Posts: 624

I think that this is an issue of semantics. Someone attracted to pre-pubescents is a pedophile, and someone attracted to post-pubescent children is a hebophile. The cutoff might be near ten but is determined individually.

Abusing a post-pubescent child is still horrific and wrong. But it doesn't make it pedophilia. Our culture uses pedophilia as a pejorative, but the same cannot be said of hebophilia. I think that's because hebophilia is glorified by the mainstream porn industry and other parts of mainstream culture.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3309

I agree with blather. The article i read said that there is a technical difference and that the standard age stated is actually typically 13, but the researches in this study for some reason used 10...which is controversial in itself...why change it? For what purpose?

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4100

"KimPossible" wrote:

I agree with blather. The article i read said that there is a technical difference and that the standard age stated is actually typically 13, but the researches in this study for some reason used 10...which is controversial in itself...why change it? For what purpose?

Perhaps so they could say that "most" of the priests weren't pedophiles? It was, after all, commissioned by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. And ITA with blather, too.

Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852

Should it be individually examined then? What physical changes must occur for a child to be postpubescent??

Joined: 03/14/09
Posts: 624

I think that if abuse is reported and the survivor is administered a sexual assault kit, then that determination is included. But that's now. Most of the cases that the Catholic church admits to are years or decades behind us, and you can't exactly examine for pubescence in hindsight.

That said, I don't think it matters. Sexual abuse is heinous, especially coming from a community leader who has such a huge amount of power.

I have huge problems with this statement, but the definition of pedophilia doesn't even enter onto my radar. Basically, they are trying as hard as possible to blame others for a systemic abuse and cover-up problem in the Catholic Church. I think that this re-victimizes the survivors, and is not an acceptable way to deal with this situation.

"Everybody else was molesting altar boys" doesn't cut it.