Richard Cross at Catholic Culture has dose some thoughtful guessimating about the rates of sexual abuse among the clergy in the Catholic Church and the clergy in the Anglican Church. 

It has to be guess work because the Anglican churches are not very forthcoming with statistics. However, I have collected material on the Anglican Church in Australia and I know that that church has a major problem with clerics, including married clerics, abusing minors. 

How does it compare with the Catholic situation. Read the details of Cross’s estimates, but I think his conclusion is reasonable. Much depends on the ordination rate of Anglican clergy, data which is simply not available for Australia. Using two estimates of the ordination rate Cross concludes: 

Hence it would be useful to create a range of ordination estimates; cutting the rate in half, yields an abuser rate estimate of 4.4%, whereas doubling the ordination rate yields an abuser rate estimate of 3.0%. The range in values contains the Roman Catholic rate of 4.0%, and in either extreme is not far distant from it. 

But no one has gathered statistics for churches, so any claim that the rate of abuse by Catholic clergy is more, or less, or about the same as other churches, is almost entirely guess work. 

I suspect that sexual abuse is higher in churches in which the clergy have a lot of prestige and therefore a lot of control over the members of the church: Catholic, Anglican, and also Pentecostal and charismatic churches in which the minister is seen as “the Lord’s anointed.” 

However, no one has done any studies, which is odd in this environment. It would be nice to have some facts rather than emotional tirades against celibacy. 

BTW, Cross’s estimate of 4% of Catholic priests is too low. Even with the numbers the bishops have released, it is more like 5%, and in the dioceses in the attorney generals or lawyers have forced full revelation, the percentage is or like 9-10%.

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