Atheist Columnist Rejects Myth of Mass Rape by Catholic Priests

A fascinating article today by the atheist Left-wing columnist Brendan O’Neill, editor of spiked, rubbishing claims that thousands of children were “raped by the Catholic Church’s army of paedophile priests”. Here’s an extract:

Were 10,000 children in America and thousands more in Ireland really raped by Catholic priests? In a word, no. Instead, what has happened is that in the increasingly caliginous, almost Inquisitorial mindset of sections of the New Atheist anti-pope lobby, every allegation of abuse against a Catholic priest … has been lumped together under the heading of ‘rape’, and every allegation has been described as an actual proven ‘rape’ regardless of whether it resulted in a legal trial, never mind a conviction.

The term ‘paedophile priest’ has become such a part of everyday cultural lingo that most people, when they read in last week’s relatively respectable UK Independent that ‘over 10,000 children have come forward to say they were raped [by Catholic priests]’, would probably think, ‘Yeah, that’s possible’. But it isn’t true.

You’ll need to read O’Neill’s piece to grasp the full details, but in essence he makes two points:

1. In America, between 1950 and 2002, a total of 10,667 people made allegations against 4,392 priests (ie, four per cent of priests in ministry during that period). Of these accusers, 1,203 made allegations of what we would consider rape. O’Neill asks:

How did a complex US report about all manner of allegations against priests come to be translated in the words of the Independent into the idea that ‘over 10,000 people have come forward to say they were raped [by priests]’? Because in the outlook of certain sections of the intolerant New Atheist lobby, everything from sex talk to fondling to being shown a porn flick is ‘rape’ – if it’s done by a priest, that is – and every priest is guilty of what he is accused of despite the question of whether or not he was convicted in a court of law.

In other words, the Catholic-baiting Independent seriously misled its readers.

2. In 2009, the Irish and British press reported that “thousands of children were raped” by Catholic priests and religious in Irish reform schools. The reality is that 242 male witnesses made 253 reports of sexual abuse against the staff of Irish reform schools at the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse – and of these, 68 claimed to have been raped. O’Neill adds:

Once again, not all of the allegations resulted in convictions. Some witness reports involved priests who had died, and out of the 253 male reports of sexual abuse, 207 related to the period of 1969 or earlier; 46 related to the 1970s and 1980s. How did 68 claims of anal rape made against the staff of Irish reform schools over a 59-year period translate into headlines about thousands being raped? Because once again, everything from being neglected to being smacked to being emotionally abused – which thousands of Irish reform-school kids were subjected to – was lumped together with being raped, creating a warped image of a religious institution that rapes children on an almost daily basis.

For the rest of the article click the link below:

Mass rape by paedophile Catholic priests is a myth, says secular humanist magazine

Damian Thompson

Damian Thompson is Editor of Telegraph Blogs and a journalist specialising in religion. He was once described by The Church Times as a “blood-crazed ferret”. He is on Twitter as HolySmoke.

5 Responses

  1. Rome knows that Newman is in heaven, so tell us where the paedophiles are?

  2. If one be”Blessed” would not the other be “Cursed”.

  3. Not at all. The definitive proof for beatification, after a fine toothed comb examination of their life is found to be holy (not sinless) is a miracle due to the intercession of the would-be saint, ie Newman.

    No human being can pronounce that a person is in Hell. Only God knows if sin is authentically repented of. Only God knows every detail about the life of an individual and the TRUE gravity of the sin. And what would be the proof a soul was in Hell in opposition to the supernatural miracle for saints?

    What if the person was mentally ill? What if the person repented? What if the person was sexually molested as a child himself? These are just a few things that only our Good God would know and know exactly how all the details together could be judged to be damnable or forgivable.

    Jesus died to save us from our sins. The Father wants all of us in Heaven with Him. If one repents of their sin they can be forgiven no matter how awful it was. Our Heavenly Father is able to compensate, in Heaven, those who suffer in this life, at the hands of sinners.

  4. The fact that it happened at all is sickening enough.

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