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Celibacy Could be Behind Abuse


12 December 2014 at 2:53 pm
Xavier Smerdon
Catholic priest’s vow of celibacy may be behind decades of sexual abuse in the Church, according to a landmark report released today.

Xavier Smerdon | 12 December 2014 at 2:53 pm


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Celibacy Could be Behind Abuse
12 December 2014 at 2:53 pm

Catholic priest’s vow of celibacy may be behind decades of sexual abuse in the Church, according to a landmark report released today.

The Truth Justice and Healing Council, which is coordinating the Catholic Church’s response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, released its December Activity Report today.

In it the Council claims that restrictions on priests having sex could have caused some of them to commit sexual assaults.

“Obligatory celibacy may also have contributed to abuse in some circumstances,” the report said.

It is believed to be the first time the Catholic Church has ever pointed towards celibacy leading to abuse.

“We must all learn about the deep, devastating and timeless impact of the sexual abuse of children by priests, religious and other church personnel on children and their families,” Chair of the Council, Neville Owen said in the report.

“The Church leadership must openly and without reservation accept the failings of the past, engage in the just and compassionate treatment of survivors and chart a course for a future built on the protection of children.”

The report said Church leaders undoubtedly ignored some complaints of abuse to protect the Church itself.

“Church institutions and their leaders, over many decades, seemed to turn a blind eye, either instinctively or deliberately, to the abuse happening within their diocese or religious order, protecting the institution rather than caring for the child,” the report said.

“Obedience and closed environments also seem to have had a role in the prevalence of abuse within some religious orders and dioceses.

“Another contributor may have been the way in which candidates for the priesthood or religious life were accepted for entry.

“Historically, parents were reluctant to believe their children and did not confront Church leaders about allegations of abuse.”

The Council said the report would help the Church reform its agenda.


Xavier Smerdon  |  Journalist  |  @XavierSmerdon

Xavier Smerdon is a journalist specialising in the Not for Profit sector. He writes breaking and investigative news articles.

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