In case it slipped by you. According to Donohue:

Penn State professor Philip Jenkins has studied this problem for years. After looking at the John Jay data, which studied priestly sexual abuse from 1950-2002, he found that “of the 4,392 accused priests, almost 56 percent faced only one misconduct allegation, and at least some of these would certainly vanish under detailed scrutiny.” Moreover, Jenkins wrote that “Out of 100,000 priests active in the U.S. in this half-century, a cadre of just 149 individuals—one priest out of every 750—accounted for over a quarter of all allegations of clergy abuse.” In other words, almost all priests have never had anything to do with sexual molestation. 

What Jenkins is saying is that a very small number of priests – 149 – were accused of abusing almost all the victims. That is, these 149 priests had a large number of victims, and that 56% of accused priests had only one accusation.


However, the bishops reported that over 4.5% of priests had been accused, so it is NOT true, as Donohue claims, that “almost all priests”  – implying 749 out of 750 – have nothing to do with sexual molestation. One of twenty were accused, nineteen out of twenty were not accused.


From my conversations with victims, many of them are satisfied once their abuser has been publicly accused. If there is no possibility of civil or criminal action, they see no point in coming forward and suffering the embarrassment of admitting that they had been abused.


There seem to be some cases in which a priest had a large number of victims but no one has gone public yet. Criminologists and psychologists have studied abusers to try to determine the average number of victims per abuser, and it is far greater than one; perhaps 15-20 for abusers of older children, perhaps scores or even hundreds for abusers of small children.


Another weasly statistic which Vatican officials occasionally quote is a fraction of1% figure of priests as pedophiles. This is misleading. Pedophilia strictly defined is sexual abuse of pre-pubescent children. The proportion of this type in abuse by priests has been small and has even declined in absolute numbers over the decades. But most of the abuse has been of pubescent and adolescent boys, technically not pedophilia, but pederasty or ephebophilia.


That of course raises the question of homosexuality, and I think Donohue is correct that there has been blindness about that.


For a long time, both those who disapproved and those who approved of homosexuality conflated it with pederasty. Church documents refer to homosexuality when they mean sex with boys. Homosexual activists for many years accepted pederasts into their ranks. NAMBLA – the North American Man-Boy Love Association – marched in gay pride parades. Gradually homosexuals decided to dissociate themselves from these pederastic groups. I leave it to the psychologists to decide whether there is a real or only a political distinction between pederasty and homosexuality.

Leave a Comment