This might shock people who are still in denial about the rampant child molestation in the Roman Catholic Church. Voice of the Faithful, a group that argues for reform of the Roman Catholic Church from within, has published a study showing just how pervasive sexual abuse complaints have been in Chicago. Here are the most disturbing conclusions.
Among the study’s key findings:
• A total of 256 of the Chicago Archdiocese’s roughly 400 parishes and institutions, or approximately 60%, had an accused pedophile priest working there or in residence at some point in time.
• The percentage of parishes and institutions ministered by credibly accused priests approached 25% in the mid-1990’s. In 2009, one in five institutions in the archdiocese still had a credibly accused priest in residence.
• According to a comparison of priest assignments with ZIP codes, credibly accused priests were assigned exclusively to institutions in 135 out of the 263 ZIP codes in the Archdiocese of Chicago. No credibly accused priests were ever assigned to any of the remaining 128 ZIP codes.
• Of the 135 ZIP code areas where assignments were made, 13 ZIP codes received the most work assignments. Initial findings suggest that these areas tended to have higher concentrations of African-Americans and low median household income levels. Analysis of the demographics of the 135 assigned ZIP code areas is continuing.
• 64%, or 63 of the 97 credibly accused priests, lived at the same location at the same time as one or more other credibly accused priests
The roles of racism and classism in this were interesting, but hardly surprising. The Roman Catholic Church always has been a horribly racist and classist institution.
One thing that should be noted is that the study only includes instances where clerical rape victims spoke out against what was done to them. As was mentioned earlier in this blog, Sinead O'Connor has publicized that the RCC clergy have coerced abused children into signing oaths of silence that the pontiff alone can release them from. As you would expect, Ratzi has refused to acknowledge the existence of the oaths, much less release people from them. So, we know that the actual level of child molestation by RCC clergy was much higher than that which was documented in this ground breaking study.
I think it is really wonderful and courageous for Voice of the Faithful to do the study, but it is incredibly difficult for me to understand why they stay in their church. They themselves have documented monstrous behavior that their church's leaders have committed with little or no consequences from their church. I find it extremely difficult to empathize with the incredibly strong pull religions have on people who are so much better than their faiths.
(Thanks to Michael of Norfolk for alerting me to the story.)