The Deliver Us podcast asks: How is your celibate life going?
Click here to listen on iTunes
Click here to listen on Android
In our second episode of “Deliver Us,” we look at two suspected causes of the sex abuse crisis: celibacy and gay priests.
Psychologist Thomas Plante has worked clinically and academically in the area of clerical sexual abuse for 30 years, and he describes the behaviors and traits that are common among abuser priests. Margaret Smith of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice gives us a deep dive on the data. She says that the statistics do not support theories that celibacy and gay priests caused the abuse crisis.
After looking at the data, our host Maggi Van Dorn asks three men a more personal question: How’s your celibate life going? These men had different experiences of celibacy in the Catholic church, and help us to understand how the church can better help priests to live healthy, celibate lives.
Thomas Plante: No, homosexuality is not a risk factor for the sexual abuse of children
The John Jay Study on the causes of the sex abuse crisis
Patrick Gothman’s ministry for queer Catholics
I suggest that research be done on the abuse of children at various ages across the world. It is a problem that is across all of society. It is all over the world and is far from just non-celibate homosexual priests. Everyone is pointing fingers but there are lots of instances beside the Church to inform as to what causes this.
J – I have to say that I agree very much with your comment.
When it comes to Catholic priests, it is not celibacy in and of itself that promotes their sexual abuse of minors - it is the VOW to celibacy, a vow which does not normally apply to what Ms. Van Dorn calls the "non-celibate" adult population. Most adults other than Catholic priests do not take a vow of celibacy, so comparing the higher prevalence of child sexual abuse to the results of the John Jay study is rather like comparing apples and oranges. Catholic priests consciously take a VOW of celibacy, which assumes a different set of behavioral expectations on their part as opposed to any other random "non-celibate" adult that a child might come across. The fact seems to be that celibacy is involved in that percentage of Catholic priests who sexually abuse minors, because of the conscious vow taken by the priests to maintain a celibate life, and thus IS a factor in why Catholic priests sexually abuse minors.