Child Sexual Abuse in the Roman Catholic Church

Child Sexual Abuse in the Roman Catholic Church
By John L. Hayworth

Since the scandal of the abuse of minors by Catholic priests and Deacons hit the world’s media in the 1980´s reports have continued to hit the media regularly and news reveals that this has been on a global scale under the full knowledge of the leaders of the Catholic Church right up to the Holy See itself.

In fact it has now been revealed that since the late 1950´s with instructions from Pope John XXIII and the collusion of successive Popes and Bishops of the Church, The Roman Catholic Church has fought tooth and nail to cover up the abuse and maintain a lid on it, even going so far as to withhold evidence from (or cooperate with) Civil Authorities that have been seeking to investigate these crimes and prosecute the perpetrators, as has been the case in Ireland.

In the United States alone in excess of $1bn had been paid out to victims of clergy abuse in by 2009.

The Dioceses of Portland in Oregon, Tucson in Arizona, Spokane in Washington, Davenport in Iowa, Fairbanks in Arkansas, San Diego in California, Wilmington in North Carolina and Milwaukee in Wisconsin have all filed for bankruptcy because of amounts paid out to victims.

In June 2002 the John Jay College of Criminal Justice published its research into the Problem of Child Abuse by Catholic Priests and Deacons in the US. 1 The report states that:

a total of 10,667 individuals made allegations of child sexual abuse by priests. Of those who alleged abuse, the file contained information that 17.2% of them had siblings who were also allegedly abused.

The researchers:

received allegations of sexual abuse against a total of 4,392 priests that were not withdrawn or known to be false for the period 1950-2002.

And that:

our numbers result in a total of 4.3% of diocesan priests with allegations of abuse and 2.5% of religious priests with allegations of abuse.

As a result of this representatives of the Vatican have been called to report to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child to report on its record of ensuring children are protected from sexual violence and safeguarding children’s well-being and dignity.  This is an unprecedented move which means that for the first time in its history the Holy See will have to give an account for its actions on these issues before an international body with authority. The first meeting will take place in Geneva in June, 2013.2

The Global Dimension

Cases of abuse :

The US:  see above report

Ireland:  Since the 1990s, a series of criminal cases and Irish government enquiries established that hundreds of priests had abused thousands of children in previous decades. In many cases, the abusing priests were moved to other parishes to avoid embarrassment or a scandal, assisted by senior clergy. By 2010 a number of in-depth judicial reports had been published, but with relatively few prosecutions. In March 2010, Pope Benedict XVI wrote a pastoral letter of apology to address all of the abuse that was carried out by Catholic clergy.3

Great Britain:  A former priest, John Kinsey, of Belmont Abbey was prosecuted and imprisoned in the mid 1980´s4

Belgium:  The Head quarters of the Belgian Catholic Church was raided by police after the former Bishop of Bruges, Roger Vangelhuwe, confessed to abusing children. 5

Spain:  More than a dozen priests have been convicted of child abuse in recent decades and two potentially larger-scale cases are attracting attention.6   Added to this is the recent exposé of the kidnap and selling of up to 300,000 babies by the Church which has caused a national outcry.7

Australia: As of August 2011 it has been reported that there have been over 100 cases where Catholic priests have been charged for sex offences against minors, as well as others involving non- custodial sentences and inconclusive proceedings. There are also numerous cases involving members of religious orders (both priests and brothers) and lay teachers.8

Canada: Most of the cases of abuse have centred around Newfoundland, however there have been cases in other parts of Canada.  In 2003, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the Roman Catholic Church is responsible (vicariously liable) for sexual abuse by its Priests in the diocese of Saint George’s.9

New Zealand:  An investigation by Australian authorities has shown that the Catholic Church transferred paedophile priests from diocese to diocese – sometimes shipping them across the Tasman Sea to New Zealand and vice versa.10

Austria:  child-abuse charges were leveled against former Vienna Archbishop Hans-Hermann Groër.11

Philippines:  a 17-year old girl filed sexual abuse allegations against a priest in Butuan province. The bishop of Butuan, Juan de Dios Pueblos, took the priest under his custody without handing him over to civil and church authorities.12

Croatia:  In 2007 Father Drago Ljubičić was sentenced to three years in prison for molesting five teenage boys.13

Malta:  A Maltese court found that Fr Charles Pulis and Fr Godwin Scerri sexually abused children and sentenced the two men to six years and five years in prison respectively.14

Netherlands:  In 1993, Father H.H.M. Jansen is denounced for sexual abuse during his activities as military pastor and as a faculty member of the seminary of Rolduc.15

Mexico:  The Legion of Christ was founded in Mexico by Fr. Marcial Maciel.  Fr. Maciel was accused of the molestation of nine former seminarians of the order.16

Brazil:  Father Tarcisio Tadeu Spricigo was jailed for 14 years and eight months for sexually abusing two boys, one of them a five-year-old. In his diary, obtained by police in Sao Paulo, the 48-year-old priest stressed the need “to have boys who can keep a secret and without sexual scruples”.17

Chile:  Father Eduardo Olivares Martínez was sentenced to 3 years and one day for molestation and rape.18


The Roman Catholic Church seems to have been turned into the world’s largest Paedophile Ring where abusive priests and others were protected and allowed to move around the world unhindered from one Diocese to another.  Rather than act on the word of the victims, and protect them, the RCC has often acted in ways reminiscent of Organised Crime Cartels through threats and intimidation against them, all in order to protect its reputation.

If it were just the odd case of a few individual priests here and there it would not be so bad, however this had gone on unchecked for over 50 years with the knowledge of the Bishops, Cardinals AND successive Popes.  Rather than succour the victims it is the perpetrators that have been succoured and, in some cases, the very leaders of the RCC themselves have even participated in the abuse!

The Lord Jesus Christ spoke very clearly concerning such organisations and churches:

For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
(Luke 6:43)

Undoubtedly the existing scandals are the fruit of the RCC and prove beyond all shadow of doubt that the RCC is corrupt and rotten to the core.  Its judgement is fixed:

“….I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?”
(Luke 13:7)



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