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Child and youth sexual abuse by clergy

Quotations a conspiracy theory, and resources

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Quotations, accurate and inaccurate:

bullet "While the moral panic of Salem's witches may be over, an equally pernicious panic continues to grow -- that of the pedophile priest." Anne Hendershott. 1
bullet "Nothing much can shock us in today's world, but in the past weeks we've seen things, heard things, and read things that we never would have dreamed of." Father Raymond Mann, St. Anthony Shrine, Boston, MA, on Palm Sunday, 2002-MAR-24, when the public in Massachusetts generally became aware of the levels of abuse, and massive coverup by the church. 2
bullet "The far right will tell you the reason we have this problem goes back to Vatican II. We made too many reforms. They blame everything on the reforms. The far left says the problem we have today is we didn't make enough reforms. ... Both sides greet the bad news about the Catholic Church, particularly regarding matters sexual, as good news because they feel vindicated."  William Donohue, president of the Catholic League. 3
bullet "We would be naive and dishonest were we to say this is a Roman Catholic problem and has nothing to do with us because we have married and female priests in our church. Sin and abusive behavior know no ecclesial or other boundaries." Rt. Rev. William Persell, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago, Good Friday Sermon, 2002. 4

A conspiracy theory: "The Vortex" discussed the problem in the Catholic church:

Michael Voris of discussed the abuse of children in the Catholic church. His talk is an interesting blend of accurate terminology, and hatred of gays, lesbians and liberals. His video makes for interesting viewing:

bullet He correctly identifies the abuse as being motivated by abusive ephebophilia (involving victims in later teen years), not pedophilia (involving victims under the age of 11) as much of the secular media has stated.
bullet He blamed the child sex abuse problem on liberals in the church. He describes their goal as to use the Catholic Church to advance the "homosexual agenda." He seems to use the terms "liberal" and "homosexual" interchangably as snarl words. Apparently he believes that their agenda involves high levels of child abuse. That is an interesting conclusion, which he does not support with facts.
bullet He commented: "One by one, these bishops and priests who [had] rained down spiritual terror on the church for decades are finally exiting the scene. In their place are good bishops and holy priests who love the Church and the faith." However, he still believes that the terrorist bishops and priests still form a majority.

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bullet BishopAccountability.orgmaintains a database of publicly accused Roman Catholic priests in the U.S., sorted by state and diocese. See:
bullet "is a non-profit school for journalists, focused on helping journalists get better at what they do." They maintain a Clergy Abuse Tracker at It consists mainly of articles on clergy abuse extracted from newspapers and news services from around the world. An amazing resource.
bullet maintains a list of hundreds of instances of alleged sexual molestation scandals among Protestant denominations. As of 2002-SEP-3, these included 147 by Baptist ministers, 251 by other Fundamentalist / Evangelical leaders, 140 by Episcopal, 38 by Lutheran, 46 by Methodist, 19 by Presbyterian, and 198 by other church leaders. See:
bullet The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests(SNAP) "is a self-help organization of men and women who were sexually abused by spiritual elders (Catholic priests, brothers, nuns, ministers, teachers, etc)....SNAP was founded by Barbara Blaine of Chicago in 1991." It has "several local chapters in the United States and Canada." See:

References used:

  1. Anne Hendershott, "A perfect panic," San Diego Union-Tribune, 2002-MAR-20, Page B-7. Professor Hendershott is a sociologist at the University of San Diego. She is the author of "The Politics of Deviance."
  2. Jennifer Peter, "Abuse scandal shrouds beginning of Holy Week: Catholics asked to take solace from Easter message of victory over evil," Associated Press, 2002-MAR-24. Published in Toronto Star, 2002-MAR-25, Page A2.
  3. Deborah Caldwell, "The Catholic church's Watergate," an interview of William Donohue, at:
  4. "Bishop of Chicago warns that no church is immune from scandal of clergy misconduct," Episcopal News Service, 2003-APR-04, at:
  5. Scott Simmie, "Victim abused by priest: 'Floodgates will open'," The Toronto Star, 2002-MAR-24, at:

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Copyright 2002 to 2011 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2002-MAY-8
Latest update: 2011-SEP-20
Author: B.A. Robinson

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