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Church Abuse Scandal's Roots Detailed in New Report36:59
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Poor seminary training and insufficient emotional support for ordained priests contributed to the clergy abuse scandal, according to researchers commissioned by the nation’s Roman Catholic bishops. (Creative Commons)
Poor seminary training and insufficient emotional support for ordained priests contributed to the clergy abuse scandal, according to researchers commissioned by the nation’s Roman Catholic bishops. (Creative Commons)

The sexual abuse crisis that has plagued the Catholic Church cannot be attributed to an all-male priesthood, celibacy, or homosexuality, according to a report commissioned by the nation’s Roman Catholic bishops.

The report, released Wednesday, instead points the blame on poor seminary training for many of the men who would go on to serve as pastors during the social and sexual upheaval that began in the 1960s.

According to the report: “The documented rise in cases of abuse in the 1960s and 1970s is similar to the rise in other types of 'deviant' behavior in society, and coincides with social change during this time period.’’

The five-year study, conducted by researchers at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, further concluded that church officials could not have done a better job screening for likely offenders because “no single psychological, developmental, or behavioral characteristic differentiated priests who abused minors from those who did not.”

Guests:

  • Father Walter Cuenin, Catholic chaplain and coordinator of the Interfaith Chaplaincy, Brandeis University
  • Anne Barrett Doyle, board member, BishopAccountability.org
  • David Gibson, reporter, Religion News Service
  • Walter Robinson, professor of journalism, Northeastern University
  • Karen Terry, principle investigator and professor of criminal justice, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

This segment aired on May 18, 2011.

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