What should bishops say now?

THIS CATHOLIC’S VIEW By Thomas J. Reese, S.J. The passage of the Senate health care bill by the House of … Continued


By Thomas J. Reese, S.J.

The passage of the Senate health care bill by the House of Representatives was a major defeat for the U.S. Catholic bishops who insisted that stricter anti-abortion language was needed in the bill.

Many pro-life Democrats abandoned the bishops after Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) received a commitment from President Obama to sign an executive order clarifying that the bill would not provide Federal funds for abortions. The bishops did not think the executive order could solve the problems in the legislation.

How should the bishops respond to this defeat? Some would have them read out of the Catholic Church anyone who did not vote with them. This is bad advice. It would be disastrous for the church and the bishops.

What should the bishops say? The bishops need to make four points:

First, the bishops should praise the good things in the bill. They should express satisfaction that the bill expands health care to 32 million people who were not previously covered by insurance. Since the Wilson administration, the bishops have supported universal health care and this is a huge step forward. They look forward to the day when all people in the U.S., including undocumented persons, are covered.

Second, the bishops should express hope that Stupak and others are correct in their view that Federal money will not go to paying for abortions. They have their doubts, but hope they are wrong.

Third, the bishops should acknowledge that their disagreement with Stupak and others was not over abortion or Federal funding of abortion. It was not over principle but the prudential application of principle to specific legislative language. The bishops have no special charism when it comes to interpreting legislative language or guessing how the courts will interpret it.

The bishops must acknowledge the good intentions of Stupak and others who voted for the Senate bill and say that they do not consider them bad Catholics. Catholic social teaching has always acknowledged that Catholics in good conscience can disagree over the prudential application of principles to concrete situations.

Fourth, the bishops can say that they will continue to monitor
the situation and if any of their fears are realized, they will ask Congress and the president to keep their promises and fix the legislation.

Such a response from the bishops would be politically and morally correct. It is based on sound Catholic theology and would not alienate the very allies that the bishops need to work with in the future.

(Read the official statement by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, issued Tuesday afternoon)

Thomas J. Reese, S.J., is a Senior Fellow, Woodstock Theological Center, Georgetown University.

By Thomas J. Reese | 
March 22, 2010; 1:56 PM ET

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Georgetown/On Faith


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  • seter16


  • sassafrasnewport

    Who cares how the Catholic Church reacted? If they want to be players in the political game and influence the population outside of the church, they need to give up their non-exempt status and pay taxes like the rest of us as they are not behaving within the confines of their non-exempt status. Add to that the moral scandal that just continues to plague them from all of the years that they hid things away, because they could and no longer can, it seems to me that they lost the seat at the front of the line.

  • shewholives

    Do you really think anyone actually cares what Catholic Bishops think about anything?

  • sassafrasnewport

    Unfortunately, “sound Catholic theology” does not necessarily comport with the law of the land, particularly on the issue of abortion. If you don’t like the law, change it. If you can’t change it, it is what it is and you have no legal right to usurp the law by forcing your church on our state to behave towards women as though it were illegal.

  • amelia45

    The Catholic Bishops realize, I hope, that many Catholics believe that the bill does more good than bad. That is the nature of politics – you don’t get everything along one ideological pathway. Sometimes, you support all the good you can get – and be clear about continuing the rest of the fight another day.The bill provides protections against tax payer funding of abortions. Maybe not all that the Bishops wanted, but enough. Importantly, better health care will reduce the number of abortions, an issue that should be recognized. And, a little notice. I will be watching so see that there is no slapping around of the Sisters about their public support of this legislation. Not from the Bishops and not from Rome.

  • barferio

    Why do we care what these agents of a foreign nation have to say about our health care system, our legislative processes .. indeed, anything at all about how we run our country?Allowing them to determine for us what is and is not in our best interests, over and above what the constitution says, is treachery.

  • jack824

    Those are probably the most appropirate words they can offer for the moment. But they need to seriously reflect on whether the unyielding approaches championed by a few of their number are driving a wedge through the Church they claim to love. It is difficult to believe that they were prepared to see 30 million go without healthcare over a tortured reading of the proposed legislation.

  • austininc4

    How should Catholic Bishops react to their fellow Clergy Molesting Little Children? I notice this subject is being danced around all the way to the TOP of the VATICAN and the POPE himself.Please Address that problem for the sake of the future of the Church. If not, there MAY NOT be a Catholic Church in the very near Future.

  • apspa1

    While we congratulate and thank the House Democrats for a job well done we shouldn’t forget the commitment and courage of the 59,000 nuns who gave their support to this great achievement.They gave witness to their commitment to their vows of dedication to the needs of the people and courageously expressed their right to independence in opposing the the anti-healthcare position of the Catholic bishops who, in the eyes of the world, have become enablers and protectors of a culture of pedophilia and corruption within the church.The 59,000 nuns are right to announce to the nation that they will no longer meekly submit to the chauvinist hierarchy of male domination that has become the Catholic church.That they will no longer stand quietly to the side as the institution they sacrifice so much for is dragged through the mud of degeneracy and immorality.This also is what change looks like.Well done Sisters!

  • HarveyY

    The Catholic Church as well as all other churches and religions should stay out of secular matters or be closed down. We do not want to know or care what the Bishops say. All religions should keep to their own flock and stay out of state and federal matters. The ones who don’t should lose their tax free status and be subject to prosecution.

  • dangreen3

    The Catholic Church needs to re think their choice of Priest. Something is radically wrong. When any organization finds itself in trouble, the first thing that happens is, they re think their management. Either the board of directors, the stockholders, or the FBi, throws them out.

  • tossnokia

    Do nothing. Go about your business. The hospitals now get to do like GM and self destruct financially and dump all the loses on the public. What can a bishop do? Where there’s a need there’s a fortune and I found a goldmine. Executive orders from on high. People are snorting too much cocaine. Got a habit, need that bailout and bonus real bad. The DEA gets a bigger budget and for not finding Madoff the SEC needs expanded. Now we get a bigger health agency with neat life and death powers.

  • usapdx

    FIFTH. The bishops dioceses need to file income tax and pay their due tax since the speakout on POLITICAL matter which is against the tax exampt law rules. Also I wonder what the bishops views on the little nine year old of eighty pounds four months pregnant with twins after being raped by her stepfather in Brazil of the case March, 2009? This case has received much media but zero from the American bishops.

  • thealaskan

    sad. lotsa sad folks.

  • scottsandy02

    Our Catholic Bishops need to concentrate on Holy Mother Church and stay out of politics but if they must join in, follow the Nuns lead for 33,000,000 people to get health care and stop standing up for the wealthy contributors.

  • uh_huhh

    This driven-away ex-Catholic couldn’t care less what these sad old fools think.

  • celestun100

    I think they should also praise the Nuns for doing what they think Jesus would have done. It takes courage to stand up. Thank-you, againn, American Nuns.

  • George151

    The bishops should be ashamed of themselves. Their stance on healthcare was simply appalling. If it were not for the courageous nuns, they might have succeeded in derailing the bill. They should ask for forgiveness to God and to the people and go back to the unfinished task of weeding out the pedophiles in their midst.

  • jescowa

    What should the bishops do? Shut up. It’s not the Middle Ages anymore, and their opinion is irrelevant in a modern democratic society.

  • chatard

    Well! We see that “the Faithful” herein make it their business to tell the bishops what to say and do. Probably they think it’s their place to tell God what to do, too. Can’t you just hear them “God d,mn the Catholic Church. God d,mn the bishops. God d,mn the Pope. God d.mn evangelicals. God d,mn the Republicans.”

  • repmisc

    Fifth, the Bishops should learn to stay OUT of politics. The Catholic Church is in no position to attempt to take the moral high ground right now!

  • clearthinking1

    WOW, what a religion!”Such a response from the bishops would be politically … correct.”

  • YEAL9

    What we all need to do is to reflect on human life in all its forms and what it means to many of us with respect to abortion/deletion of the smallest of us. Abortion boils down to one simple question, when does human life begin? And one paramount observation/law: There is basic human morality that goes beyond the OT, the NT, the Demoss Foundation, the Aquadath Israel of America, the RCC Bishops, the Baptists for Life, the Methodists for Life, the Lutherns for Life and the other over 100 respect for life organizations listed at http://www.pregnantpause.org/people/wholist.jsp?name=life . A fetus dies without nourishment. A baby dies without nourishment. There is no difference.It is obvious that intercourse and other sexual activities are out of control with over one million abortions and 19 million cases of STDs per year in the USA alone. from the CDC-2006″Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) remain a major public health challenge in the United States. While substantial progress has been made in preventing, diagnosing, and treating certain STDs in recent years, CDC estimates that approximately 19 million new infections occur each year, almost half of them among young people ages 15 to 24.1 In addition to the physical and psychological consequences of STDs, these diseases also exact a tremendous economic toll. Direct medical costs associated with STDs in the United States are estimated at up to $14.7 billion annually in 2006 dollars.”How in the world do we get this situation under control? A pill to temporarily eliminate the sex drive would be a good start. And teenagers and young adults must be constantly reminded of the dangers of sexual activity and that oral sex, birth control pills, condoms and chastity belts are no protection against STDs. Might a list of those having an STD posted on the Internet help? Sounds good to me!!!! Said names would remain until the STD has been eliminated with verification by a doctor. Lists of sexual predators are on-line. Is there a difference between these individuals and those having a STD having sexual relations while infected???Hmmm, so a growing baby is considered by some to be nothing more than an infection? Talk about having no respect for life!!!!! And Nature or Nature’s God is the #1 taker of everyone’s life. That gives some rational for killing the unborn or those suffering from dementia, mental disease or Alzheimer’s or anyone who might inconvenience your life???

  • SJP172

    I’m not sure how the bishops should react but one thing now should be abundantly clear to any serious Catholic – You are a second or third class citizen in the United States! The liberal elites hate you, want to corrupt your children and eliminate your faith from having any influence upon U.S. society. A radical Muslim cleric gets more respect from our political leadership that the leaders of one of our largest religious faiths.We need leadership by more that pandering politicians. We have become a self indulgent society that has raised the U.S. national debt from about $300 billion in the 1960s to over 12 trillion today! The total debt of the first 180 years of our existence is being incurred every 5-6 weeks today. Our politicians have promised tens of trillions of dollars of benefits that may never be provided. The old values may not be as obsolete as our sneering intellectuals think!Religious leaders have no right to “impose their faith” on the population but they certainly have the right to speak out on moral issues. Only bigots try to deny them that right.

  • notthatdum

    I believe that not only the United States but also the entire World would be best served if they all holed up with the Pope in Vatican City and spent the next 100 years praying for forgiveness from the Good Lord.

  • Davoud

    According to the Constitution, the Catholic bishops may say what they want, spread their Dark-Ages superstitions in any way they can, but the legislature must not hear. The bishops’ congregations certainly aren’t listening. Every Catholic I know is a cafeteria Catholic. Those who claim to be “pro-life” are the ones who most strongly oppose programs that would reduce the abortion rate, and the ones who most energetically wave the flag in support of war, any war, even a bogus war. Trillions for offense, but not one penny to ease a poor child’s suffering. Keep your faith. Keep it to yourself.

  • WESHS49

    The biggest lie told about the Health Care Bill (and there were many) was that it provided tax dollars to pay for abortions.It does provided health care insurance for 45 million Americans who are not presently able to obtain it.The Bishops of the Church lost their credibility when it became obvious that they had knowingly tolerated sexual abuse of children by members of the Catholic Clergy.When, in regard to the health care debate, the qustion is asked “What would Jesus have done” the answer was provided by the Nuns of the Church and sadly not the Bishops.

  • Mnnngj

    The Bishops should follow the Nun’s example. Also allow condoms. Its idiotic to tell people in places like Africa not to use them – it is murder. Also they need to stop the cover up’s all over the world on child molestation and lastly they need to pray more and talk less, pray more and eat less, pray more and politic less…

  • barferio

    These bishops are representatives of a foreign government, a foreign nation.We’ve heard many times their attempts to influence our legislative processes not by promotion of their ideas, but by blackmail of the politicians in our government – vote our way or be excommunicated. And burn in hell for eternity as the loving god punishes you forever blah blah.As they are foreign agents this blackmail should be seen for what it is – an attempt to sabotage our democracy in favor of their theocracy.We would never allow the Russians or the Chinese to do this to us, why should we allow these foreigners the privilege?

  • cougartonyusa

    The catholic bishops receive far too much press coverage. They do not represent Americans. They are stained with the blood of decades spent covering up child sexual abuse. They must retreat to monasteries and beg God for forgiveness. We never want to hear from them again.

  • steelchaser

    I am sorry to say that this Catholic’s view may be the polar opposite of the writer’s. I don’t know if that is because he is better-educated than I or because being a Jesuit he thinks like a Jesuit.The bishops should have either supported the health care bill knowing full-well that there is a ban on the payment of federal monies for abortion through the Hyde Amendment or stayed quiet, as they do about child abuse. The government never paid for abortions and I hope that they never will.Do the bishops care about who loses their health insurance? I do not believe so. I have yet to see a special collection for parishoners who have lost their health insurance, yet I know of no man in the Lord’s service, and apparently his own, who has missed a meal or had to go on medicaid or welfare for his medical care.I have seen nuns reduced to substandard living, booted from their convents, and now that they are wearing more practical clothing, sometimes a habit that is really working clothing, taking the respect that they deserve as human beings and women the Pope sends an apostolic visitation to tame them down.And the bishops say nothing. They probably instigated it.The bishops should go on the air with any right-wing commentator they wish and declare themselves to be against social reform. The former Catholic, Glenn Beck, might be a good start. That would make them tell the truth about what they truly stand for.The bishops should then say that they are removing all pedophile priests who have violated their conditions of retention, that is, you can continue to serve as a priest but never again in pastoral duty, from their assignments and report them to the police and then own up to their shell game that allowed so many priests to prey on young boys and girls.Lastly, the bishops should tell the people who are the Church that they will be open and transparent in all dealings, from exposing pedophiles, to browbeating nuns (yep, I attended Catholic school and I am anti-abortion), to who buys their health insurance for them, where they buy it, what it costs, can the parishoners buy-in, and how they intend to help bring social reform and relieve the daily misery of their parishoners.St. Ignatius Loyola must be proud that the writer writes and obfuscates the issues so well.

  • DwightCollins

    also gays have no right to be in the clergy, throw them out and your pedophile problems will disappear…

  • alaskansheilah

    This is an excellent article! Refreshing to see genuine faith, encouragement and forgiveness still lives in the ‘Church’. There are unfortunately other Catholics who are writing columns about how Mr. Stupak failed them. And they don’t know that, do they? I think they watch too much Fox News and put too much credence to the views of the protestant GOP.I think Mr. Stupak’s and Mr.Poe’s ammendment was brilliant. Can anyone tell me if this is not the first time in 40 years that anyone has pulled off pulling out federal funding from any Congressional budget for the barbaric act of abortion?I would like to add that the Bishops should make a point of giving Mr. Stupak a safety net in the event he did fail the ‘Church’. Be there for him! Encourage him and tell the whole of America that you did indeed BACK THE HEALTH CARE REFORM due to it’s efforts to help humanity: the GOP says you did not. You might tell the U.S. that you did encourage Mr. Stupak on his repeal because you probably did. AND I would also like to see the Bishops order retractions on all negative articles written in Catholic media about Mr. Stupak.

  • YEAL9

    What the leader of the Immoral Majority, aka B. Obama, should remind us of every day but never does:It is obvious that intercourse and other sexual activities are out of control with over one million abortions and 19 million cases of STDs per year in the USA alone. “Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) remain a major public health challenge in the United States. While substantial progress has been made in preventing, diagnosing, and treating certain STDs in recent years, CDC estimates that approximately 19 million new infections occur each year, almost half of them among young people ages 15 to 24.1 In addition to the physical and psychological consequences of STDs, these diseases also exact a tremendous economic toll. Direct medical costs associated with STDs in the United States are estimated at up to $14.7 billion annually in 2006 dollars.”

  • levarfan

    Like many other Catholics, I was baffled and disappointed by the bishop’s stance against the health care bill. However, our church teaches us that each of us is responsible for his or her own actions, and that we must ultimately listen to our conscience on these matters, no matter how difficult it is to stand against the leaders of our own church. There is no doubt in my mind that this bill, which not only does not fund or promote abortion, but also provides services that prevent abortion as well as promote healthy childbearing, is a bill that supports life and should be supported by anyone who claims to be pro-life.

  • jack824

    Your wise words were lost on Denver’s Archbishop Chaput who is already flailing accusations against “”self-described “Catholic” groups”” including the Catholic Health Association. As he sees it, the “combination of pressure and disinformation used to break the prolife witness on this bill among Democratic members of Congress – despite the strong resistance to this legislation that continues among American voters – should put an end to any talk by Washington leaders about serving the common good or seeking common ground.”I am getting truly weary of the “One Commandment, hold the Beatitudes” Church leaders.

  • Matthew_DC

    Some of the commentary is really filthy. The bishops are as American as anyone else. They can form their own views on this bill and express them. They’ll compete in the marketplace of ideas. Trying to shout them down by implying that a collection of pedophiles in their midst taints all of them is absurd. If that kind of guilt by association works, then global anti-Americanism rests on a solid basis, for if part of the American population is vile (as it is), it follows that all Americans are vile and their opinions worthless.

  • YEAL9

    Gendercide inside or outside the womb is an abomination as is homicide inside or outside the womb.

  • SydneyP

    Um, Modernity was a major defeat for US Catholic Bishops. The Reformation was a major defeat for them. Christ’s life and Word was a major defeat for them. They will carry on, however, because the world cries out for their offerings of superstition, deception, and the fruits of sexual repression.

  • 45upnorth

    Did Obama sign an executive order that repealed GWB’s order to prevent embryonic stem cell research? So much for the Stupek agreement lasting very long.

  • Muddy_Buddy_2000

    Since 99% of the bill is good from the Christian POV they should react by applauding and monitor for the non-sin they so worry about. If an abortion is paid for, they could easily make it the last one, despite the legal nature of the procedure, and continue to enforce their religion on others.

  • VirginiaConservative

    They should react by excommunicating the Catholic baby killers.Now.And for all of you who are hyperventilating about the accusations of Catholic crimes – where is your voice when it comes to mulsim atrocities?Whats the matter, little ones – no stones?

  • map529

    maybe the bishops should react by confessing their sins against women and children, and repent. but that’s too much for a bunch of hypocrites. it’s the old “do as I command, not as I (exercise my own free will to) do.” Yeah, Catholic church!!

  • karenjustice

    Jesus commanded to Christians to remove the plank from their own eyes before criticizing the splinter in someone else’s.The Catholic Church has some major thorns that need removing.Jesus also went about doing good, healing those who were “unclean” and breaking almost every religious law of his day.

  • outragex

    It’s amazing to me that many bishops are so into their ideology against abortion, that they can’t even acknowledge the “pro life” aspect of 32 million people living longer and more whole lives thanks to health insurance. As the column says, can’t the bishops support health care and then work to change any parts of the plan IF they promote abortion? And that is a debatable “IF.” Kinda ironic actually when you realize how many reform supporters are Catholic: nuns, Catholic hospitals, Pelosi, Biden, Stupac, etc.

  • slenon

    The Catholic Bishops should understand that if they wish to meddle in our political system we will make every effort to tax them and their parent organizations as a political party. Lest anyone think this is intended as an anti-Catholic action, we will make the same efforts to tax all Christian lobbyist groups hiding beneath the mantle of a non-profit church.

  • ease99

    Again and again it’s the same story the church violates the laws on separation of church and state. It does not pay taxes, commits horrible crimes, abuses the poor nuns

  • probashi

    Let’s not forget about the courageous position taken by Catholic nuns. While the pope is trying to move away from reports about his alleged role in covering up the pedophilia scandal in Germany, his coterie of obese men in ornate robes is meddling in politics in the name of god. They are not going to give up the power and the perks. The church’s tax exempt status cannot be justified.

  • pgr88

    What Fr. Reese is saying – Bishops, just roll over. Praise the bill, make up with fake pro-life supporters like Stupak, and “hope” that Pelosi and Obama don’t continue to shovel money into abortion funding.What rubbish. Sorry to hear it coming from a Jesuit. No doubt that Georgetown should no longer be considered a Catholic University.

  • risejugger

    As a Catholic, I believe the Catholic clergy, and all church clergy’s, should confine themselves to their church. We have the first amendment for a reason.The church, in its’ sphere can promote and encourage such things as abstinence, responsible behavior, and compassion for those who err. They can flood the airwaves with their message.Meantime, they need to allow the secular government, and Catholics acting in that capacity, to address the world as it actually exists and problems that really exist.The Reformation, and resulting bloodshed, that the founders of this country came here to get away from, was a direct consequence religion meddling in secular affairs.

  • chlind

    I am tired of the vitriol of most of the posters on this column.

  • peternd26

    Oh the Bishops! Take a very close look at their lives and what they do & teach. They are the most powerful & the most privileged class in their church. Their lifestyles are the highest and the most luxurious compare to others: Everything related to their living is provided by the church – beautiful private residence with multiple amenities, including wet bar and all kinds of expensive liquors! The elaborate Christmas & other parties at their residence is a huge waste of money. They don’t visit the poor and the run down inner city parishes to find out the daily struggle of their flock, but they like to travel to foreign country in the name of “pastoral” visit. On their diocese pastoral activities,they are welcomed and treated like king. They oppose the health care reform bill which will provide health insurance for 30 millions Americans while their health insurance is THE BEST. We wonder if they would be willing to give up their “CADILLAC” HEALTH CARE INSURANCE to use the money to help the pregnant teen, the terminally ill elderly when they really need care? They oppose abortion but they do nothing to improve the life of the pregnant teens. They use the Bible in their teachings, but they love material things. They always associate with the rich and the privileged class. We all know that these bishops live and do the exact opposite from what they teach. They condemn people’s sins but they always fight to death to conceal theirs. Look at what they do with the sex scandals in their church! What did Jesus refer to this class of people? Does Jesus know that the church he tried (with his own life) to build has turned into a huge universal corporation with many layers of deceitful managers? Praise to the Representatives who voted for the Health Care Reform Bill! Democracy works. NO to theocracy.

  • FarnazMansouri

    “What should the Bishops say now?To whom? To the poor women and their families to whom they effectively denied choice?Or to the prosecutor who indites Vatican Nation under the Rico Act?Vatican Nation has been granted both foreign nation status in this country, thus protecting them from law suits initiated by Americans AND nonprofit status.That they have so benefited makes our government and Vatican Nation equally culpable under the federal anti-racketeering act. In addition, Tax Exempt Vatican Nation has lobbied Congress, manipulated Congressmen. Together with the government it has concealed priest pedophiles, protected them from trial, set them loose on the streets where they now freely roam.Billions upon billions are due us from Vatican Nation. Indictments against Cardinal William Levada, Roger Mahony, Law, and others are long, long overdue. Levada and Law must be extradited from Vatican Nation.This may not prove much of a problem as Vatican Nation is currently under investigation in Italy for laundering 200,000,000 mafia dollars. Italians have the courage we lack and want the whole rotten edifice gone.Charges must be levied against all who have conspired with them, eg., Stupak, Nelson, etc.It is very late in the day.

  • YEAL9

    Obviously the RCC is not the only tax-exempt group lobbying Congress.From guidestar.com:“The tax-exempt The Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith has a professional lobbying staff of approximately 528 in 28 offices nationwide, of those , two staff members based in Washington DC devoted 75% of their time, and the other devoted approximately 50% engaged in advocacy on (Congressional) legislative proposals related to federal hate crime laws, global anti-terrorism, the Middle East Peace Process, immigration issues, the use of government money to fund faith-based organizations and counter-terrorism proposals outside Washington, DC.”The total revenue for the ADL in 2008 was $59,960,134 mostly coming from contributions and grants.The largest of the lobbyists:(note the large sums of money being spent by health “profiteers” on lobbying )Lobbying Client Total 1998-2009 US Chamber of Commerce $606,758,180 Would the move to end tax exemptions for any group generate the added taxes/contributions needed to pay for universal health care?? The money spent by the health-“profiteers” on lobbying should be spent on health insurance for those who cannot presently afford it.

  • rmkraus

    Father Reese always likes to second guess the Bishops. He sounds almost gleeful when he says that passage of the healthcare bill was a ‘major’ defeat for US Catholic bishops.rmk/akron

  • SundaysChild

    I think they should say “Deus vult!” and then start figuring out how to help their parishioners receive the help they need.

  • YEAL9

    RCC priests were supposed to ordained by God and therefore perfect. Obviously not!! So we rate them as human with normal comparative statistics as noted below:”Sexual abuse exists in all reaches of society.[114] In terms of the relationship of the catholic sex abuse cases to other professions some studies are now emerging. A Perspective on Clergy Sexual Abuse by Dr. Thomas Plante of Stanford University and Santa Clara University states that “available research suggests that approximately 2 to 5% of priests have had a sexual experience with a minor” which “is lower than the general adult male population that is best estimated to be closer to 8%”.[115]Sexual Abuse in Social Context: Clergy and Other Professionals is a scholarly work that shows sexual abuse is not particularly prevalent within the Catholic hierarchy and that abuse is significantly higher among public school teachers than among ministers and priests. In the report, a study titled “Sexual abuse of students in schools” by Carol Shakeshaft, the instance of prevalence with the NTC public school system is described.[116]”In the 1993 Journal of Pastoral Care, 14 percent of Southern Baptist ministers said they had engaged in “inappropriate sexual behavior”.As noted by many here, the cover-up by RCC leaders was the greater crime!!!

  • paultaylor1

    The Catholic administrative hierarchy, from the pope down to the priests, have made evident that the Church needs big change, or in the parlance of the day: transformational change. The Church hierarchy has never been free of covert, sexual prurience. This is a cancer that has eroded the moral foundation of the Church, from the deep insides, out. Allowing priests to marry would go far in attracting the kind of man who would be an asset, nor a liability, to the Church. Allowing nuns to become priests, and also to marry, would be a necessary condition for effective change.If married priests are not to be, then let the nuns be accepted equally into the priesthood, thereby balancing and repairing the male bias of the Church.