Sticking up for priests

Catholic kick me sex abuse toon

Anti-Catholic prejudice, particularly with regard to priest sex abuse, seems to be one of the most culturally acceptable forms of prejudice in our nation. People who would never DREAM of making a negative remark about a person because of their race, color, gender or sexuality seem to be ever-ready to flip the bird at Catholics.

Enough, I say! Particularly with regard to priest sexual abuse. Even NEWSWEEK admits Catholic priests are no worse than other religious professionals.

I am a clergy sexual abuse survivor, so I know more about this and have hotter feelings than your average Catholic pew warmer. I attended a 3-day retreat for clergy abuse survivors that was part of a nation-wide program serving any and all denominations. The leader had us raise our hands by denomination and what we had was a fair representation of Christian denominations, which are the ones that obviously dominate American churches.

She made a special point of demonstrating to the Protestants that the Catholics in the group were fairly represented statistically as a subset of Christians in the U.S. She said that was typical but that she had also had survivors at retreats from the less-than-2% denominations. She specifically mentioned Jewish and Buddhist at that retreat, which was about 20 years ago. Now, I’d expect Muslims would be mentioned as well.

Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children says, “We don’t see the Catholic Church as a hotbed of this or a place that has a bigger problem than anyone else. I can tell you without hesitation that we have seen cases in many religious settings, from traveling evangelists to mainstream ministers to rabbis and others.”

Insurance companies that offer sexual misconduct coverage as a rider on church liability insurance say they do not charge Catholic churches higher premiums, because Catholic churches are not higher risk than other congregations.

So if you hear anyone sneering at us mackerel-snappers, could you please do me and mine a favor and give that prejudiced snarker a little reality check for me? You don’t need to smack them upside the head, but if that seems appropriate, I won’t fault you any. 🙂


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