Clergy Sex Abuse · Paul Sullins

Landmark Ruth Institute Study continues to draw attention

Doug Mainwaring of LifeSiteNews

When the Ruth Institute released its Clergy Sex Abuse Report by Fr. Paul Sullins in November, a number of journalists picked it up immediately. Among them, was Doug Mainwaring of LifeSiteNews. Doug’s article has been shared over 8,000 times. Here are some key points from that article:

“Although over 8 in 10 of victims have been boys, the idea that the abuse is related to homosexual men in the priesthood has not been widely accepted by Church leaders,” wrote Father Paul Sullins, a retired Catholic University of America (CUA) sociology professor, in a new report for the Ruth Institute. “The data show that more homosexual men in the priesthood was correlated with more overall abuse and more boys abused compared to girls.”

The priest said in a recent press conference that this “question comes up logically because the vast majority of [priestly sex abuse] victims were boys. Usually in sex abuse of minors, two-thirds of victims are girls.”

The report compares “previously unexamined measures of the share of homosexual Catholic priests and the incidence and victim gender of minor sex abuse by Catholic priests from 1950 to 2001 to see if these matters are related.”

While Sullins’ findings are stunning, they serve to confirm what many have suspected all along: 

  • Clergy sexual abuse is still a problem. Since peaking 35 years ago, it has declined much less than commonly thought. The decline is consistent with an overall drop in sexual assault in American society.
  • Since 2002 abuse has been rising amid signs of complacency by Church leaders, and today is comparable to the early 1970s.
  • The share of homosexual men in the priesthood rose from twice that of the general population in the 1950s to eight times the general population in the 1980s. This trend was strongly correlated with increasing child sex abuse.
  • A quarter of priests ordained in the late 1960s report the existence of a homosexual subculture in their seminary, rising to over half of priests ordained in the 1980s. This trend was also strongly correlated with increasing child sex abuse.
  • Four out of five victims over age seven were boys; only one in five were girls. Ease of access to boys relative to girls accounts for about one fifth of this disparity. The number of homosexual priests accounts for the remaining four fifths.
Fr. Paul Sullins Ph.D.

And perhaps the most chilling conclusion of Sullin’s research is this:

  • Estimates from these findings predict that, had the proportion of homosexual priests remained at the 1950s level, at least 12,000 fewer children, mostly boys, would have suffered abuse.

Stop the denial’: Seminaries with homosexual subcultures foster abuse

The Sullins reports also calls attention to a 2002 survey of Catholic priests by the Los Angeles Times which asked, “In the seminary you attended, was there a homosexual subculture at the time?”

More than one quarter of the respondents said “yes,” and for those who had been ordained more recently, the number skyrocketed to 53 percent.

A similar survey conducted by Dean Hoge of CUA yielded essentially the same result – 55 percent – from recently-ordained priests to the same question.

“Homosexual subcultures encouraged greater abuse, but not by heterosexual men, just by homosexual men,” said Sullins.

In order to deal with homosexual subcultures in seminaries,“the first thing that needs to be done is to stop the denial,” said Sullins in a recent interview with the National Catholic Register. “We need to recognize that there’s a problem. And the idea that we want to keep from acknowledging that homosexual activity in seminaries or in the priesthood might be related to these kind of harms is really an important first step. The impulse that we don’t want to say anything that might stigmatize homosexual persons is an understandable one. But it has to be weighed against the potential for greater harm for these victims. How many times do we want to go around this block again and keep denying what is becoming increasingly obvious, and taking steps to address it?”

Read the entire LifeSiteNews article, from November 5, 2018.

Read the entire Clergy Sex Abuse Report here.

 

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