Justification of the unjustifiable

A five-year study commissioned by America’s Roman Catholic bishops aimed at providing a definitive answer to what caused the church’s sexual abuse crisis has concluded that neither the all-male celibate priesthood nor homosexuality were to blame.

Instead, the report states, the abuse occurred because priests who were poorly prepared and monitored, and were under stress, landed amid the social and sexual turmoil of the 1960s and ’70s. This line of thinking, used to justify a number of things, has become known as  ‘Blame Woodstock’.

It contends that known occurrences of sexual abuse of minors by priests rose sharply during those decades and the problem worsened when the church’s hierarchy responded by showing more concern and care for the perpetrators than the victims.

Could it not also be the case that, possibly due to a change in society, people were more willing, or perhaps less scared, to come forward and talk about what happened to them? Sounds more plausible.

This theory does not explain the continued abuse by clergy who were not even around at the time of Woodstock, especially as, with the problem being ‘known’, those clergy would have been better prepared and monitored.

There is no justification, either for their actions or for the cover-ups by those in higher office.

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