I’ve previously written of the Catholic Church’s downward spiral into depravity but the link between child abuse and Catholicism clergy just won’t go away (as opposed to the link between Catholic Priest’s abuse of children and homosexuality, which never existed in the first place).  The latest is a real double-header and astounded even me.

The quotes are taken from a Guardian article that quotes Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican’s permanent observer to the UN.

The first thing that Archbishop Tomasi addresses is pedophillia, or rather that he believes that the majority of clergy members involved in child abuse would better be classified as ephebophiles.  An ephebophile is someone who has sexual preference for pubescent males.

“Of all priests involved in the abuses, 80 to 90% belong to this sexual orientation minority which is sexually engaged with adolescent boys between the ages of 11 and 17.”

This is PR drivel of the highest order.  Developed society considers those who have a sexual preference for those below the age of consent as pedophiles.  The 11-17 age range also seems somewhat broad and open to interpretation.  The breach of trust that is so often a defining factor in clergy abuse cases tends to apply more to the lower end of that age range.

The objective of the Church here is to disassociate itself from the negative connotations of pedophillia, and reclassify the crime as something else.  Something that doesn’t immediately cause common society to gasp in horror.  I’ve called this PR drivel, but let’s be honest, this is a rebranding exercise.  The Catholic Church is trying to rebrand their pedophiles.

The other nugget of information Archbishop Tomasi slipped out was that only 1.5% to 5% of Catholic Clergy were involved in Child abuse.  Two things should astonish you about this.  Firstly, the numbers involved.  According to numerous sources ( e.g. here) the number of Catholic Clergy is currently around 400,000 and growing.  That means there are approximately 6,000 to 20,000 pedophiles in their organisation.  And not only that, but we have to remember, these are the ones the Church knows of.  Given the track record of this particular organisation, one would be justified in assuming that the actual number is significantly higher.

At this point I should point out that this article was written a number of weeks ago and left languishing in my drafts folder.  I decided to finish it, and release it to the world after reading about Stephen Fry and Christopher Hitchens winning a debate on whether the Catholic Church was a force for good.  They argued, successfully, that it was not, citing amongst other things:

“institutionalisation of the rape and torture and maltreatment of children”

As an aside, if you enjoy reading news articles that were clearly written through gritted teeth, I’d recommend reading the linked story from The Catholic Herald.

Some might argue that it would be difficult to prove the Catholic Church is a force for good even without the systemic child abuse, but with it, it’s somewhat of a laughing stock.