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09 October 2014

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Reliable statistics reveal that about 4% of Catholic priests may be abusers. This is the same rate for most professions, including teachers and doctors.

It is however understandable that abuse by a priest gets more publicity and is perhaps more scandalous because the abuser is someone who should be committed to doing good and not evil. There is a breach of trust involved when the abuser is a parson or priest or a medical doctor.

Part of the real scandal in the Catholic Church was the attempt to cover up. Some authorities did not realize how addicted the abuser may have been to the habit of abuse. Some abusers may have proclaimed that they would “never do it again”. They would get transferred or appointed to a distant parish, and the abuse would continue.

Some Church authorities may have grossly underestimated the negative impact of abuse on the abused person. They underestimated the seriousness of the problem. They underestimated the length of time the negative effects could last.

Hopefully both Church and Civil authorities have arrived at a deeper understanding of the problem, and are now taking more effective steps to stop such abuse.

While the publicity given to such cases may be painful and make us (Catholics) somewhat ashamed, at the same time if this publicity makes us more aware of the problem and pushes Church authorities to take effective action in such cases, then such publicity may have good consequences.

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