My previous post generated a rant that is worth a response for a different command.  We medieval Lutherans believe it is not enough that we are supposed to not bear false witness against our neighbor.  We are to speak well of them and explain their actions in the kindest possible way.  We’re also supposed to oppose slander (false accusation) as it is up there with murder and adultery as one of those things that sends people to hell.

This bit of slander is based on a lot of anger and popular (completely wrong) ideas about the Catholic church.

As a disclaimer: I am not a Catholic.  I have never been one.  I am not a priest.  In point of fact as a Lutheran I am one of the very few people the Catholic church still believes to be headed straight for hell.  So I am not really just defending “my cult” as it were.

I think that the suicide rate of victims of perverted, child molesting, priests should be looked into. Priests are a threat to children and pedophilia is NOT “pro life”. I wouldn’t allow you near my child. I won’t take the risk of you raping her and then having your criminal institution cover it up. I would rather see a priest masturbate on the Eucharist or into the communion chalice than harm a single hair on the head of a child. Instead of worrying about CONSENTING adults, STOP the sexual torture of children in your cult. Some of us are fighting back.

As a point of logic:

Because someone A is causing someone else B to suffer, that does not mean I should not care about the suffering of person C, in this case those who chose and active homosexual lifestyle.

Secondly, while I am not a Catholic, I am commanded to speak well of my neighbor and explain his actions in the kindest possible way. Catholic priests have committed sexual abuse, yes. So have military combat veterans, Baptist ministers, atheists, and more. The most common perpetrator of sexual abuse are family members and close friends, not priests.

To speak from personal experience, among other things I conduct prison ministry largely involving sex offenders.  Most of the sex offenders that I know of were married at the time of their crimes, were dating, or were divorced/separated.  The plurality of the rest were rather young to be married (college students).  My personal experience does not bear out the idea that celibacy increases sexual abuse rates, or that the Catholic priests are more likely to abuse, and this is an issue I work with regularly.

It is very popular to slam the Catholic church on this one, and no sexual abuse is ever permissible, but the facts do not support the idea that priests are more dangerous to children than other men. In fact, statistically the opposite is true. Not that I really expect you to deal with facts since your comment didn’t deal with any facts presented in my blog, just assumptions.

But in case my handful of readers wander by and want some relevant facts, I found some nice ones here:

FACT: Catholic priests abuse at a rate far lower than that of other males in the general population.
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Notwithstanding the media hysteria over sex abuse in the Catholic Church, priests abuse at a rate far lower than that of other males. While even one case of abuse is too many, approximately only 4% of all active priests between 1950 and 2002 were even accused of abuse – a rate far lower than that of other males in the general population.
Newsweek magazine, April 7, 2010:
“[B]ased on the surveys and studies conducted by different denominations over the past 30 years, experts who study child abuse say they see little reason to conclude that sexual abuse is mostly a Catholic issue. ‘We don’t see the Catholic Church as a hotbed of this or a place that has a bigger problem than anyone else,’ said Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children …
“Experts disagree on the rate of sexual abuse among the general American male population, but Allen says a conservative estimate is one in 10. Margaret Leland Smith, a researcher at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, says her review of the numbers indicates it’s closer to one in 5 …
“Since the mid-1980s, insurance companies have offered sexual misconduct coverage as a rider on liability insurance, and their own studies indicate that Catholic churches are not higher risk than other congregations … It’s been that way for decades.”
USA Today, June 6, 2010:
“If anyone believes that priests offend at a higher rate than teachers or non-celibate clergy, then they should produce the evidence on which they are basing that conclusion. I know of none. Saying ‘everybody knows’ does not constitute scientific methodology.”
– Dr. Philip Jenkins, Pennsylvania State University.

Basically, anger and fury aside (and anger and fury over the harm of children is good and appropriate, but man’s anger does not bring about the righteousness that God requires) there are people who actually look at numbers and track sexual abuse, and every source I have come across to date states that Catholic priests are a low-risk population compared to the rest of the world.

Part of that is that for decades the Catholic church has taken efforts, including interviews with trained mental health professionals, to weed pedophiles out of their applicant pool, a measure that you will not find in the leadership of any other organization I can think of outside of the Boy Scouts.

The truth is that I do care very strongly about the harm of the abuse of children.  (By the way, the best data for the suicide rates among victims of sexual abuse is very similar to that of active homosexuals, about 6-9x that of the general population.  This indicates a terrible, horrible and hateful amount of harm against the victims of sexual abuse.  But it does not exactly lessen my compassion for practicing homosexuals since they appear to be consensual perpetrators of great harm upon themselves as well.)

In fact, I care so much about making sure that there are No More Victims that I plan on spending my life doing what I can to stop the source of the abuse: changing the hearts and minds of abusers through the power of Christ.

I believe my obligation to defend and speak well of my neighbors is herein fulfilled.