The Catholic League about Hell’s Bible and WaPo deceptions

From the Catholic League:

COVER-UP AT NYT AND WASH POST

May 7, 2012

Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on editorials that appear today in the New York Times and Washington Post:

Both of these newspapers misstate the facts, fail to mention relevant data, and then make unfair accusations against the Catholic Church on the issue of sexual abuse.

Both newspapers today editorialize on the subject of “pedophile priests.” It is one of the biggest myths of our time that the Catholic Church has had a problem with pedophile priests: as the John Jay College for Criminal Justice showed in its 2011 report on this subject, less than 5 percent of the abusers were pedophiles. In almost all cases, the victims were adolescent males who were inappropriately touched by homosexual priests. Both newspapers cover this up, thus perpetuating a lie.

Today’s New York Times criticizes Timothy Cardinal Dolan for opposing legislation by Assemblywoman Margaret Markey which would lift the statute of limitations for one year on civil lawsuits involving the sexual abuse of a minor. Once again, we have a cover-up: what the editorial does not say is that this bill does not apply to the public schools.

Today’s Washington Post adds to the cover-up by pretending that the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) is a legitimate organization that is being harassed by the Church. But anyone who has read the report we issued last year on inside information that was obtained from a SNAP conference knows that it is driven by raw hatred of Catholicism and intentionally manipulates the media. Also, the deposition from earlier this year of SNAP’s leader shows beyond a doubt that he lies to the media, and that he counsels alleged victims without a license in a coffee house.

Moreover, 85 Orthodox Jews from Brooklyn have recently been arrested for the sexual abuse of minors and yet neither newspaper reports on this.

Contact Andrew Rosenthal at the Times: andyr@nytimes.com
Contact Fred Hiatt at the Post: fredhiatt@washpost.com

Contact our director of communications about Donohue’s remarks:
Jeff Field
Phone: 212-371-3191
E-mail: cl@catholicleague.org

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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34 Responses to The Catholic League about Hell’s Bible and WaPo deceptions

  1. Maltese says:

    Indeed, this is a problem of pederasty, not pedophilia. But who said yellow-rag journalists could actually distinguish the meaning between words above their pay-scale, or hide their liberal obfuscations.

  2. wmeyer says:

    Ah, but can you imagine the headline?

    Predatory Homosexuals in Priesthood

    Then, too, from what the various studies have stated, the incidence of such men in the priesthood was at the level it would be expected in the general population. And yet, and yet, I know of no investigations in the public schools, nor in Protestant churches and schools.

  3. wmeyer says:

    …as I meant to say, I cannot imagine either of those papers (nor any other liberal paper) using the phrase “predatory homosexuals”.

  4. ArtND76 says:

    While this has risk, why not call the assemblywoman out publicly, proclaiming support for her civil lawsuit extension as long as public schools are made subject to the same lawsuits with the same limitations.

  5. rodin says:

    Another item that Markey proposed legislation does not include is

    WND EXCLUSIVE
    KIDS RAPED, SODOMIZED ON FACEBOOK PAGES
    Bombshell! America’s favorite social network is child-predator playground

    Are we to assume this causes her no concern?

  6. ContraMundum says:

    Donohue is wasting his breath and our time. “Hey, there’s an important difference between someone who sexually abuses a minor and a pedophile!” Well, yes there is, but (1) to the public those terms are synonymous, (2) the distinction is really only important if you’re looking at a screening program for seminaries, unless (3) you mean by “pedophile” someone subject to a perverse temptation who may or may not act on it, vs. someone who has actually committed a crime. In other words, it is much more shameful for the Church when a priest actually commits a sex crime than when a priest is subject to a temptation — any temptation.

    Oh, and our favorite argument from 6th grade, “But everybody’s doing it!” was a flop the first time it was used in this. It hasn’t gotten better with time. If the argument is that abusive teachers, principals, ministers, rabbis, scoutmasters, whatever should be aggressively investigated and prosecuted, then excellent. That is not what Donohue is saying. “What about all those rabbis who were arrested? It’s not fair that they aren’t mentioned in the paper!” Does anybody here really have sympathy for this kind of complaint?

    As for me, I do, oddly enough, expect better of priests than of the public at large. I do, oddly enough, expect grown men to stand up and take their lumps when they are caught doing wrong.

  7. SKAY says:

    You are right rodin. Where is the outrage that this is happening on Facebook? It is horrific!

  8. Cincinnati Priest says:

    @ContraMundum: “Does anybody here *really* have sympathy for this kind of complaint?”

    I think you are conflating two things. While it is true that “everybody else is doing it” is a very weak argument to excuse moral lapses, the point isn’t that the Church is trying to make excuses for moral lapses. No one is saying that the priests who have fallen into sin should not have to “take their lumps.” This is not about them.

    Rather, the point Donahue makes (quite well, I might add) is to reveal the transparently obvious anti-Catholicism of the offending yellow journalists. If it can be shown that these papers almost completely ignore the issue of child abuse in other very significant areas where it is just as prevalent, if not more so (such as schools, clergy of other faiths), while dwelling incessantly on the problem of the Catholic Church, then any reasonable person can conclude that the coverage is biased and is not very credible.

    Try this thought experiment: Imagine if a newspaper reported only on crimes that were committed by one particular racial group (e.g. African Americans) and virtually *never* on those committed by any other racial group. Once discovered, wouldn’t that be an occasion for that newspaper to be shown to be not only racially discriminatory, but also lose all journalistic credibility.

    Even if all of their reportage about African Americans in that scenario might happen to be completely fair, balanced, and accurate, that would not be the point. The point is that there is a very deliberate exclusion happening in reportage of others.

    If you objectively review the pattern of reporting in certain newspapers such as “Hell’s Bible” it is almost impossible to escape the conclusion that what they are doing is anti-Catholic advocacy, rather than journalism. It is Donahue’s goal to get people of good will to understand this (regardless of any hurt, anger, resentment, etc. they may feel about past clerical abuse).

  9. ContraMundum says:

    @Cincinnati Priest

    I largely agree with what you are saying. The problem is that no Catholic can say, “Either say less about sex abuse by priests, or say more about sex abuse from other groups” without it sounding to the public just like, “Say less about sex abuse by priests, and, by the way, everyone else is doing it, too.” I don’t think that complaining about the publicity of well-verified cases that we find embarrassing helps at all. It would be more helpful to downplay that aspect significantly and instead concentrate on the need for more complete coverage of all such allegations.

  10. Son of Trypho says:

    I’m in the same court as Contra on this one – this is a relatively lost cause and comes across as “whataboutery” and an attempt to claim victim status and/or parsing over terminology (which ever sense is still regarded as repugnant by the majority of people).

    Yes, there is anti-Catholicism in the press and popular culture. The best way to deal with this is greater transparency, accountability and structural changes in behaviour i.e. priests are forbidden from being in the presence of minors without other adult supervision/assistance.

  11. frjim4321 says:

    Bill Donahue does nothing for the church other than to make it look ridiculous.

    The John Jay study clearly demonstrates that the crisis was not about homosexual priests; in fact the vast majority of gay priests have not been shown to abuse either children or adolescents.

    The John Jay study indicates an average age of victims in the range of 12 t0 14. Post-pubescent but clearly not adults. Alleging that typical gay sex involves adults and 13-year-olds is ignorant and preposterous.

    More alarming than that fact that an ignoramus such as Bill Donohue is sucking down airtime masquerading as a representative of the church is the absurd good-cop / bad-cop routine of Dolan and Donohue. It’s really hard to believe that any but a very small percentage of educated people take the church seriously anymore.

    Again, there is no evidence that a disproportionate number of gay priests have been perpetrators of sexual abuse – any more than a disproportionate number of straight priest have been so.

  12. ContraMundum says:

    The John Jay study clearly demonstrates that the crisis was not about homosexual priests…

    I’m not going to chase this rabbit; I’ve got a deadline tomorrow. However, I will point out that this is exactly the same kind of definition game that was criticized above. The vast majority of the sexual abuse was male-on-male, but that’s not “homosexual” or “gay”? Yeah. Just like sexual abuse of minors is not pedophilia, and nuking Japan was not violence, it was force. Whatever. These games convince nobody.

  13. frjim4321 says:

    The vast majority of the sexual abuse was male-on-male, but that’s not “homosexual” or “gay”?

    Asked and answered in the John Jay report.

    Again, the vast majority of gay priests were not demonstrated to be abusers.

    Perpetrators do not abuse because they are gay or straight. Evidence has shown that perpetrators abuse victims who are accessible. The John Jay study pointed out that altar servers, for example, were accessible. Ironically if altar serving was not denied females through the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s we might not be having this discussion.

    There is no evidence that shows that gay adults are more likely to be sexual abusers than straight adults. The effort to scapegoat gay priests as child molesters has resulted in pushing gay ordinands of the 90’s and 00’s further into the closet – and we have yet to see the results of their sexual repression.

  14. ContraMundum says:

    Like I said, that kind of argument really convinces nobody. It might make you feel better to say it, and it may win praise from people who already agree with you, but those are its limits.

  15. jhayes says:

    “Today’s New York Times criticizes Timothy Cardinal Dolan for opposing legislation by Assemblywoman Margaret Markey which would lift the statute of limitations for one year on civil lawsuits involving the sexual abuse of a minor. Once again, we have a cover-up: what the editorial does not say is that this bill does not apply to the public schools.”

    New York has a law that says that if you were sexually abused when you were younger than 18, you have until you are 23 to bring a civil suit for damages. Markey’s bill extends that to age 28. That’s all it does.

    http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?bn=A05488

    New York has another law that says that if you want to make a claim for damages against a city (you car hit pothole, etc), you must give the city notice of the claim within three months after the incident occurred. Cities like that because it shields them from claims resulting from sexual abuse by public school teachers and other city employees.

    Donahue’s argument is that you shouldn’t raise the general limit from 23 to 28 unless you do away with the 90-day notice for cities. That appears to be a poison pill to keep any action from being taken.

  16. jhayes says:

    “that’s all it does”

    I left out that it allows people who are over 23 at the time the new law is passed to bring a claim within he next year even though their right to sue had already expired under the old law. It’s not clear to me whether they have to be under 28 to do that

    If Donahue believes it would allow a 60-year old man to make a claim based on abuse that happened 50 years ago, it would be better to argue that issue than to oppose the whole bill.

  17. robtbrown says:

    frjim4321 says:

    Bill Donahue does nothing for the church other than to make it look ridiculous.

    Tend to agree when he’s on TV. The above article, however, makes some good points.

    The John Jay study clearly demonstrates that the crisis was not about homosexual priests; in fact the vast majority of gay priests have not been shown to abuse either children or adolescents.

    I’m sure it’s a relief for Catholics to know that there are priests who have older boyfriends. We don’t need to be concerned about that–just the illegal sex.

    The John Jay study indicates an average age of victims in the range of 12 t0 14. Post-pubescent but clearly not adults.

    Not post pubescent but in early pubescence. The point is that most of the acts were homosexual in nature. The argument is also made that many of these acts were situational–altar boys were what was available. I don’t disagree with that, but when isn’t sex or falling in love not situational?

    Alleging that typical gay sex involves adults and 13-year-olds is ignorant and preposterous.

    Who is saying that?

  18. Son of Trypho says:

    Contra/Fr Jim

    I think you are speaking at each other rather than to each other.

    I don’t think Contra is saying that it is homosexual abuse because the abusers are homosexual – (or that this causes it), rather that the abuse is homosexual when it is male on male abuse.

    I think it is safe to say that abuse, from whatever perspective (homosexual/heterosexual) is caused by malformed sexuality and behaviour of the abuser. In the case of the priests (and nuns and others) who have been involved in abuse, it is because of this malformed sexuality, not any other reason.

    There are both homosexual and heterosexual people who abuse, and the majority of both don’t abuse. There are definitely priests (and others) who are homosexual and who live pious lives and never do anything wrong.

    The problem here is not with homosexual people who live religious lives (which is to be commended if done well by anyone) but rather with the Church’s (and its advocates) poor handling of the problems.

    The media is going to be hostile – most of its writers share a similar secular progressive (democratic/socialist) world view – which is antithetical to the Church’s values/ideas. Ranting on like the Catholic League etc is just destructive (and one must wonder how much of the effort is about ego rather than catechesis of people?).

    The problem for the Church is that it needs a generation of saints to live pious lives of chastity and faith publicly demonstrated to dispel the harmful perceptions pushed by those hostile to its mission.

    (Sort of like the early Christians did in the Roman Imperial times when constantly attacked and maligned by a hostile and pagan culture – and whose witness to the Christ converted their neighbours in the face of elite opinion).

  19. Son of Trypho says:

    robtbrown

    I don’t think Fr Jim was suggesting that homosexual priests have older boyfriends or not or that we shouldn’t be worried about such matters.

    The problem occurs whenever any religious breaks their vow of celibacy/chastity and brings their peers and themselves into disrepute irrespective of their sexuality.

  20. Charivari Rob says:

    Honestly! Is there nobody in the structure of The Catholic League that has experience in PR? Nobody Mr Donohue would respect? Nobody who could say “Hey, Bill…”, “Say, Boss…” – “…have you given any thought to how you’re saying these important things and that (rightly or wrongly) it affects how they’re heard?”

    Looking at his second point first… A carefully constructed statement could be made – first acknowledging that any abuse of minors is appalling and that there was a horrifying amount of abuse, then going on to say how important is to understand that not all cases are the same, distinguising between pedarastry and pedophilia, etc… The trouble is, not many people make that careful statement. Too many reply first (to the anger, horror, outrage, etc…) with corrections, qualified definitions, parsing words, statistics – instead of first acknowledging the anger, etc.

    Looking at his first point… ” It is one of the biggest myths of our time that the Catholic Church has had a problem with pedophile priests” Well – he agrees that some of the abuse cases involved pedophilia. If all the Catholic Church has experienced – even if we divide the magnitude of it by a factor of 20 to consider “only” the pedophilia-related impact – does not qualify as having had a problem with pedophile priests… Well, perhaps he’s fortunate enough that the Catholic Church within his range of observtion and experience has no such problems. It does make it somewhat difficult to take him seriously, though.

  21. frjim4321 says:

    Like I said, that kind of argument really convinces nobody. It might make you feel better to say it, and it may win praise from people who already agree with you, but those are its limits.

    Um, isn’t that the case with most arguments?

  22. robtbrown says:

    Son of Trypho says

    I don’t think Fr Jim was suggesting that homosexual priests have older boyfriends or not or that we shouldn’t be worried about such matters.

    He said: “in fact the vast majority of gay priests have not been shown to abuse either children or adolescents.” He does not say that they do. On the other hand, I have known priests who have had adult boyfriends. Some have left the priesthood, some have died from AIDS, and at least one is still in. And we know of four US bishops in that category. And one in Poland.

    The problem occurs whenever any religious breaks their vow of celibacy/chastity and brings their peers and themselves into disrepute irrespective of their sexuality.

    It’s true that celibacy is obligated regardless of sexual orientation, but it is a bit more complex than that. Two points:

    1. The catechism says that the inclination is objectively disordered.

    On the other hand:

    2. IMHO, many of these priests who have always been celibate but consider themselves as having homosexual inclinations are simply suffering from a lack of sexual identity. They went to seminaries where gay was OK, where they weren’t formed to have the psychological independence of a celibate, but instead produced lonely men. (I realize that there were also the priests who, having received a pre Vat II style highly legalistic formation, floundered after the structural supports of celibacy disappeared.)

  23. marytoo says:

    Maybe not perfect execution, but Donahue is on the right track. The John Jay report stopped short of telling the whole truth due to political correctness. What they didn’t – couldn’t? – say is the most obvious of all – that homosexuality is indisputably disordered behavior, regardless of it’s being declassified in the 70’s. To place it alongside heterosexuality and view them as on equal footing is to misunderstand the problem entirely.

    Common sense would dictate that, since homosexuality is intrinsicly disordered, the priesthood and it’s all-male orientation would only increase the risk of disordered tendencies, since disordered behavior poses greater challenges in terms of the will to begin with. A heterosexual priest in an all male setting is actually aided in the fulfillment of his vows by removal from an environment which might pose challenges to celibacy.

    The celibacy of a normal heterosexual priest would not be challenged by life in, say, the seminary…but might be by life in a convent. The celibacy of a “normal” homosexual priest, coupled with the extreme challenges of his disordered inclinations, increases risk of breaking vows exponentially, and sadly we have seen the result.

  24. Athelstan says:

    Hello frjim4321,

    Again, there is no evidence that a disproportionate number of gay priests have been perpetrators of sexual abuse – any more than a disproportionate number of straight priest have been so.

    The worst lies we tell are the ones we tell to ourselves.

    The Jay Report makes clear that the vast majority of victims were male. Moreover, most were adolescents, not young children. Attempts to suggest that this is merely a case of perpetrators abusing “victims who are accessible” simply will not fly. It’s an attempt to define away instances of same-sex attraction that are inconvenient to a prevailing secular narrative.

    The effort to scapegoat gay priests as child molesters has resulted in pushing gay ordinands of the 90?s and 00?s further into the closet.

    With respect, the goal is not to push gay ordinands into the closet, but out of the priesthood altogether, as clearly required by Bl. John XXIII’s 1961 order, “Careful Selection and Training of Candidates for the States of Perfection and Sacred Orders” (and confirmed by the Congregation for Divine Worship in 2002) requires. And to screen out such applicants from the seminaries vigorously.

  25. marytoo says:

    Last line of my post should read: “A “normal” homosexual priest in the all-male setting of the priesthood, coupled with the extreme challenges of his disordered inclinations, has exponentially increased risk of breaking his vows , and sadly we have seen the result.”

  26. Centristian says:

    “The crisis was not about pedophile priests, it was about actively homosexual priests!”

    “No, no, no…it wasn’t about actively homosexual priests, it was about sexually predatory priests!”

    Crimony.

    Does the precise clinical definition of the disorder involved really matter? Is it helpful when the Catholic League gets its back up over a minor mischaracterization of the depravity, declaring that, “it wasn’t this sin, it was THAT sin!”? Does naming the depravity correctly make the whole affair any less ghastly or those who covered it up any less culpable?

    The fact of the matter is that a distressing number of child abuse cases revealed that we had alot of sick shepherds out there who were not protecting and sanctifying their most vulnerable sheep, but victimizing them instead, and furthermore that bishops covered up these terrible crimes for fear of bad PR for the Church, often transferring guilty priests, thereby enabling them to abuse even more innocent children.

    Call it whatever you want to call it, it all amounts to a sick, indefensible episode that scandalized the world and which ought to be approached, henceforth, sorrowfully and repentantly, not arrogantly, loudly, absurdly, or defensively.

  27. Scott W. says:

    For years we have had to endure progressives telling us that the Church was replete with homosexual priests and any priest that spoke out against homosexual acts must be secretly a self-loathing homosexual. The idea was that if these legions of homosexual priests could be outed, we could finally all have a big laugh about it and ditch the truth that homosexual acts are wrong. Now to be fair, some of the zanier traditionalists held the belief in legions of them as well, but they had a different axe to grind. The point is, when the sex-abuse scandal hit, those legions disappeared all of a sudden and nary a one homosexual was to be found. Well, they can’t have it both ways. Normal Catholics think any priest caught with a minor of either sex needs to be turned over to the cops and any priest caught with a consenting adult of either sex needs to be removed from ministry. Why some priests chase after minors is of secondary interest in the sense of the primary interest in how to prevent future abuse. But for some preserving the narrative that homosexuality has nothing to do with it is of primary concern. So you get a bunch of dubious category shuffling to make them disappear from the equation.

  28. wmeyer says:

    Centristian: Yes, the definition matters, as it is related directly to two other issues about which the media continues to lie, and on which they are in opposition to the Church: same-sex “marriage” and active homosexuality.

    Pedophelia focuses on pre-adolescents of both sexes. Ephebophila is the sexual preference of adults for mid-to-late adolescents, generally ages 15 to 19. The media, carrying water for the homosexual lobby, denies any connection between the sex scandals and homosexuality; the John Jay study makes plain that it was, in fact, a major factor.

    The discussion is not only about sin–especially in the secular media–it is about the issues surrounding homosexuality as a “lifestyle choice”. And in other studies, despite the claim of genetic factors, homosexuality has been shown to be a choice, not an inevitability. And regardless of that, sexual activity is always a choice, at least among humans.

  29. frjim4321 says:

    Like I said, that kind of argument really convinces nobody. It might make you feel better to say it, and it may win praise from people who already agree with you, but those are its limits.

    How’s that working out?

  30. frjim4321 says:

    hmmm some kind of typo in that last one

  31. marytoo says:

    Centristian: Of course it matters. In people’s minds, calling them pedophiles puts them in a different category. “Oh, only the pedophiles do that. We don’t have to worry about the ‘normal’ gay priests.” It gives a false sense of security and actually lends tacit support to homosexuals in the priesthood. Here’s the reality: homosexuals have been lobbying for the lowering, and ultimately complete *elimination* of the age of consent for years. Some day they will make this happen. Preposterous? See what they did with homosexual marriage, which once seemed just as preposterous.

    People who want to lower the age of consent obviously have an interest in younger sexual partners. Homosexuality is disordered and therefore there are not natural limits to what homosexuals will abide when it comes to sexual activity. Remember, the current label is LBGT – supporting not only gays and lesbians, but open support for bisexuals and transsexuals, and tacit support for pedophiles. This is what is most telling.

    So language is very important. If the homosexual lobby wants to separate themselves from those of their kind who want younger partners, they are free to do so, and should do so as vocally and definitively as they have promoted marriage for homosexuals. Until they do (and they never will) we have to believe what the evidence points to: that they do tacitly support no limits as far as age, gender, etc. for sexual partners. Homosexuals are incapable of functioning normally in the priesthood for these very obvious reasons.

    As Athelstan said: “With respect, the goal is not to push gay ordinands into the closet, but out of the priesthood altogether, as clearly required by Bl. John XXIII’s 1961 order, “Careful Selection and Training of Candidates for the States of Perfection and Sacred Orders” (and confirmed by the Congregation for Divine Worship in 2002) requires. And to screen out such applicants from the seminaries vigorously.”

  32. robtbrown says:

    Should be:

    Not post pubescent but in early pubescence. The point is that most of the acts were homosexual in nature. The argument is also made that many of these acts were situational–altar boys were what was available. I don’t disagree with that, but when IS sex or falling in love not situational?

  33. frjim4321 says:

    Yikes, I think that’s a little problematic at least in view of the commonly accepted dictum that sexual abuse and rape is not really about sex and certainly not about love, rather about power and control; thus the analogy above limps badly.

  34. jhayes says:

    The John Jay study confirmed that priests who abused children were not characterized by pedophilia or homosexuality.

    From the copy of the report posted on the USCCB website:

    • Less than 5 percent of the priests with allegations of abuse exhibited behavior consistent with a diagnosis of pedophilia (a psychiatric disorder that is character- ized by recurrent fantasies, urges, and behaviors about prepubescent children). Thus, it is inaccurate to refer to abusers as “pedophile priests.”

    • Priests with allegations of sexually abusing minors are not significantly more likely than other priests to have personality or mood disorders.

    • Sexual behavior in violation of the commitment to celibacy was reported by 80 percent of the priests who participated in residential psychological treatment, but most sexual behavior was with adults.

    • The majority of priests who were given residential treatment following an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor also reported sexual behavior with adult partners.

    • Those priests who had sexual relationships either before seminary or while in seminary were more likely to also have sexual relationships after ordination, but those relationships were most likely to be with adults. They were not significantly more likely to abuse minors.

    • Priests who had same-sex sexual experiences either before seminary or in seminary were more likely to have sexual behavior after ordination, but this behavior was most likely with adults. These men were not significantly more likely to abuse minors.

    • Priests who were sexually abused as minors themselves were more likely to abuse minors than those without a history of abuse.

    • Priests who lacked close social bonds, and those whose family spoke negatively or not at all about sex, were more likely to sexually abuse minors than those who had a history of close social bonds and positive discussions about sexual behavior. In general, priests from the ordination cohorts of the 1940s and 1950s showed evidence of difficulty with intimacy….

    The findings of the Causes and Context study indicate that few of the priest-abusers exhibited serious pathological, developmental, or psychological characteristics or behaviors that could have led to their identification prior to the commission of their abusive acts. Priests who sexually abused minors did not differ significantly from other priests on psychological or intelligence tests but had vulnerabilities, intimacy deficits, and an absence of close personal relationships before and during seminary.

    http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/child-and-youth-protection/upload/The-Causes-and-Context-of-Sexual-Abuse-of-Minors-by-Catholic-Priests-in-the-United-States-1950-2010.pdf