We’re not as bad as others says Vatican spokesperson

The Guardian:

…Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican’s permanent observer to the UN, defended its record by claiming that “available research” showed that only 1.5%-5% of Catholic clergy were involved in child sex abuse. He also quoted statistics from the Christian Scientist Monitor newspaper to show that most US churches being hit by child sex abuse allegations were Protestant and that sexual abuse within Jewish communities was common.

The statement said that rather than paedophilia, it would “be more correct” to speak of ephebophilia, a homosexual attraction to adolescent males. “Of all priests involved in the abuses, 80 to 90% belong to this sexual orientation minority which is sexually engaged with adolescent boys between the ages of 11 and 17.”

The statement concluded: “As the Catholic church has been busy cleaning its own house, it would be good if other institutions and authorities, where the major part of abuses are reported, could do the same and inform the media about it.”

Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, head of the New York Board of Rabbis, said: “Comparative tragedy is a dangerous path on which to travel. All of us need to look within our own communities. Child abuse is sinful and shameful and we must expel them immediately from our midst.” A spokesman for the US Episcopal Church said measures for the prevention of sexual misconduct and the safeguarding of children had been in place for years.

The Telegraph adds:

[Tomasi’s] comments followed an outspoken attack on the Vatican’s record by the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEA).

The group’s representative Keith Porteous-Wood said that the Holy See had failed to meet its obligations under international law and called for it to force dioceses to report all abuse allegations to the secular authorities.

He told the gathering: “The Holy See has been complicit in widespread attempts to cover up cases of alleged child abuse perpetrated by members of its clergy and religious orders.

“Apologies are rare, and a general admission of the Church’s culpability has yet to be seen.”

The Vatican’s reply read by Tomasi is here.

Porteous-Wood’s statement is here and in extended form here.

One of the reasons that the Archdiocese of Boston and others lost so thoroughly in the courts was that the Roman Catholic Church failed to learn from the sex abuse scandals in Protestant Churches ten years before, and the prevention measures those churches subsequently adopted. The record shows the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy was aware of abuse in its midst and failed to adopt the same prevention measures.

A sidebar, in case we need reminding of the human cost of sex abuse: For some victims clergy abuse settlement only make things worse:

For these victims, the money has seeped like a poison into every relationship and laid bare feelings of anger, mistrust, bitterness and guilt that have been buried deep in their families for years. It has fed drug habits and alcohol binges, divided siblings and fueled resentment in parents who walked through hell with their children, only to find rejection and blame on the other side.

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