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Roy Sablosky

Greta said: "Belonging to the Catholic Church -- giving them money, letting them count you in their rolls, sending your children to their schools -- gives this behavior your personal thumbs-up, and actively enables it to continue."

Yes. I want to especially highlight the money part. That $20 you put on the collection plate goes directly to the church. (It's not subject to taxes of any kind.) And the main thing the church needs money for is salaries. Your $20 pays these men's wages who say the Mass, fill the "holy water" bin with tap water, and, when they wish, rape little children and get away with it.

Some priests accused of child-rape have been moved to the Vatican to shield them from prosecution. And in these safe new Mediterranean lodgings they continue to collect a stipend. After all, what can the church do -- throw them out on the street? That would be so cruel!


I love you.

Timothy Mills

I agree wholeheartedly that the acts of the church are evil. The child rape thing is viscerally repugnant, and the opposition to contraception is staggering in its promotion of human suffering (through disease and poverty).

However, it is not the case that one must either shut up and accept these things or leave the church. There are organizations out there working from *within* the Catholic church for reform. Here are a couple: Catholics for a Changing Church and Catholics for Choice.

And, just to be clear before people jump on me as "supporting" the church: I don't think the church is a net positive influence on the world. I am not and have never been a Catholic. I would dearly love to see the pope imprisoned for his participation in the child rape business.

I'm just saying that your rhetoric sets up a false dichotomy for catholics.


I love your post. When I try to bring this up with Catholics, they often say, but the church has enacted reforms in the US! Children in the US in venues run by the Catholic church are perfectly safe, and diocese are organized such that we don't have power over other places!!

To which I can only shake my head and point to articles documenting sending rapists and molesters to third world countries and/or disadvantaged communities in order to hide them among those who won't complain.

Plus... even in the US the church is actively fighting certain reforms, such as lengthening the statute of limitations on child abuse and such.

Greta Christina

Timothy: I don't agree that it's a false dichotomy. Yes, Catholics can protest and fight for change from within -- but the Church knows perfectly well that they aren't going anywhere, that they're going to keep giving money and letting their names be counted in the rolls and (shudder) sending their kids to their schools. So they don't have to give a damn. The complaints are just irritating noise. There's no accountability.

And besides... when it comes to the moral horror the Catholic Church has perpetuated and continues to perpetuate, the "working for change from within" defense rings awfully hollow. Again I sing the refrain: If your school/ softball league/ charitable organization were shown to have perpetuated child rape on a massive institutional scale, and responded when this was exposed with stonewalling and rationalizing and deflecting blame -- or indeed, with anything other than abject, grovelling, desperate apologies -- would you say, "Yes, but there are so many good things about the organization, so I'm going to work for reform from the inside"? Or would you consider that response grotesquely inadequate? Would you decide that some crimes are unforgivable? Would you do anything other than leave in revulsion?

And if not -- then why should Catholics behave any differently with the Catholic Church?


Thanks for posting this expanded version. On the topic of the charity work, I always find it weird that some religious people want to give credit to their religion for the charity work that is done but then don't want anyone to point out the poor quality of it (such as false information given to the people being helped and so on).

If religion gets credit for the good then it should also get the blame for the bad.


Chick Fil-Atheism

I'm not a Catholic; I am an atheist. Yet, my family are all Catholics. I feel pretty certain that, if I printed out this blog entry and sent it to them, they wouldn't leave the Catholic church. They'd leave ME. I truly believe that. What a shame that your powerful words are probably more often than not preached to the choir, so to speak.


My immediate reaction is to agree with this wholeheartedly. On the other hand, that's all too easy for me, because I've always been an atheist, so I've never had the experience of being deeply emotionally invested in a church.

I am, however, invested in my identity as an American. The American government has done things over the course of its history as bad, and worse, than what the Catholic Church has done in this case. Arguably, it has done things as bad or worse within my lifetime. I haven't renounced my American citizenship yet, and even if it were pragmatically possible to do so, I wouldn't. I don't think I'm obligated to allow wicked or foolish people to define what it means to be American, even if those people happen to be running the country at any given moment. I can understand, at some level, how a Catholic would feel the same way about the Church.

David D.G.

@ tilts-at-windmills:

Where would you go, anyway, to get away from governmental corruption and evil? The moon? Virtually every government of every nation is guilty of some sort of barbaric or corrupt acts --- some well known, some secret, and some even arguably necessary at the time (or at least controversial). I'd say that it's endemic to the species, so you might as well try to work with the government you've got, if it's not completely hopeless; the only alternative seems to be to leave this planet completely.

I see your point, however, and that does help to give the matter some extra perspective for me. If a person defines himself or herself largely as a Catholic, then leaving that is not the same thing as leaving a softball team or any other type of organization; it first involves setting yourself apart from that organization even just to look at it as something separate from yourself, which is darned hard to do if it has always been a core part of your own identity, on par with such labels as "American" or "heterosexual" or "chocolate lover." If you've always thought of that as just an element of your own identity, then the idea of leaving it would be hard to even grasp, let alone commit.

@ Greta:

I forwarded this post of yours onto my Facebook page, and so far the response from my Catholic friends has been one of blanket denial of the problem --- even from one who supposedly gave up Catholicism ages ago and had even spoken of Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular as a "death cult," and who has now chided me for "Catholic bashing" by bringing up a couple of your blogs on this issue. Bizarre. People's core identities (whether natural or indoctrinated) evidently run very deep.

~David D.G.

Greta Christina

tilts-at-windmills: Damn, I wish I'd addressed this in my expanded version, as it's an argument many people made when this was first published on AlterNet.

I'm sorry, but I'm not buying the argument. Mainly because, as Americans, we can vote -- we can hold our government directly accountable when they behave terribly, by voting them out of office. The Catholic Church is not a democracy. The only way to hold them accountable is by leaving.

(Also, leaving one's country is, quite literally, not always an option: you have to find a country who'll take you, and not everyone can do that.)

David D.G.: When you say that the response of your Catholic friends has been blanket denial... do you mean they're denying the basic facts, as reported by multiple reliable news sources for years? If so, that's both disheartening and bizarre -- as EVEN THE FREAKING CATHOLIC CHURCH ITSELF is not denying the basic facts. They're just coming up with an appalling assortment of defenses and rationalizations of those facts, from "Everyone else does it too" to "It's the fault of the gays." Tell that to your Catholic friends. (Not that it will make any difference. Sheesh.)

jets jerseys

I'm not a Catholic. But I can understand those. I think it is a belief.


The other way that the country/government analogy doesn't work is the fact that most governments run on many different competing powers and ideologies (especially democratic governments). A more appropriate analogy is someone remaining Republican becaue it's supposedly about "responsibility" and "minimal government", when these days it just seems bat-shit crazy.

I'll also point out that this "change from within" rubbish rings a bit hollow from the point of civic responsibility.

I mean, there's been one big fight against catholic authority corruption a couple hundred years ago (aka the Reformation) and not much since. Nothing even remotely like the civil upheavals that people will commit to in the name of civil liberties, workers' rights, and anti-slavery (hello, the US is no saint among nations, but to my knowledge, it's the only country that fought a bloody civil war to bring a bunch of slavers to heel!)
Anyway, so ok, you can't leave the church because it's part of your identity or something. Fair enough. But where are the mass protests, the sit-ins in front of the vatican, etc?
A canadian prime minister has been pied once (or I tink it actually happened twice -can't remember) but never have I heard of a single tomato thrown at the pope!


My facetious answer (I'm not and never have been Catholic):

I hope one day to become Pope. The anti-rape, pro-condom, and pro-rationality Pope.

A guy can dream, right?

(Actually, this suddenly raises, for me, a genuine-ish troubling question — is there a possible alternate universe where the Pope takes a hard line on the abuse? Really? I sort of imagine that the vast majority of possible-Popes only do what they can to preserve the Church. I mean, we're talking about the Catholic Church here. It's an entranched creepy-old-man-ocracy. Maybe that renders moot all criticism of its actual leaders, who never could have been anything but creepy evil men?

Meh, scratch all that. For what I hope are obvious reasons.)



And I may be mistaken, but wasn't the Reformation kind of motivated by the Church losing members to the Protestant sects (which had at that point gained enough members/power/royal supporters that the Church could no longer just Smash with Hammer to stop it anymore?) No one has ever really reformed the CC from within--the only thing that has ever motivated any kind of reform attempt was the loss of membership!

Ya know what? I do a lot of bitching about my supremely annoying woo-ist mom and her incredible blinders, but this is one thing I have to commend her on. Once she finally realized that this was not just "a few bad apples" but a major problem that was being funded/protected/encouraged by the the actions of a completely informed Church, she hightailed it out of there and didn't look back. And all that money she used to put in the plate? She puts it into an envelope now and donates it to children's hospitals and animal shelters instead.

Seriously, there is no good the CC does that isn't done every bit as well by some other source--in fact, done better, considering the other organizations have accountability and don't protect/encourage child rape.

Steve Caldwell

Demonhype wrote:
"And I may be mistaken, but wasn't the Reformation kind of motivated by the Church losing members to the Protestant sects (which had at that point gained enough members/power/royal supporters that the Church could no longer just Smash with Hammer to stop it anymore?) No one has ever really reformed the CC from within--the only thing that has ever motivated any kind of reform attempt was the loss of membership!"

That was certainly Martin Luther's experience - he tried reform from within (having been ordained as a Roman Catholic monk and also a university professor of theology).

But Luther was forced to leave the church as a result of his views.

What happened next was a confluence of religious trends, cultural trends, and technology trends.

Religiously, there were concerns over Catholic doctrines and abuses of power like the selling of indulgences.

Culturally, the rise of nationalism in Europe led to organizations that could be effective rivals to the Catholic Church.

From a technology point of view, the invention of movable type in 15th century was analogous to the role that the Internet plays today. The printing press allowed everybody to read the Bible and develop their own opinions about religion. Prior to the printing press, books were both rare and expensive. Eventually, the Bible was translated into everyday languages like German and English which allowed even more opportunities for individuals to discern their own opinions about religion. And Martin Luther's 95 Theses were posted on a church door in a University town (their version of Facebook). Luther's hand-written version was taken down and reproduced by printing press which resulted in it "going viral."

And that led to the previous unified Western European Christianity fracturing into hundreds of smaller groups that we call "Protestant" today.


This is an issue that the church has been dealing with since the times of St. Basil the Great (330-379). Opposed to the current church, he was against child rape. I've come to the conclusion that this is some kind of recruiting tool for a new generation of priests

Dan M.

I was raised Roman Catholic, though I've never self-identified as such and have been a positive atheist since i was 18, but both my parents were members of the RCC until somewhat recently.

My father switched to the schismatic branch of the RCC that disavows Vatican II. This was at the time that Bernard Law was getting into the news for his part in the child rape, and Dad did make some oblique comments about not wanting to support Law. My mother remained with their previous parish out of loyalty to the head priest there, who seems to have been a genuinely good person, despite being a Catholic priest, and joined my dad at his new church when he retired.

So, at this point, they have both left the organization that's publicly declared support for child rape, while at the same time claiming to be part of the Catholic Church. This is a bit like the "making reforms from the inside" solution, but actually effective in having removed support, so that's good, and (other problems with christianity notwithstanding) I think declaring Pope Palpatine and the other supporters as no longer being real Catholics is a legitimate response that answers Greta's objection.

On the other hand, this other church wasn't formed as a response to the child rape. It was formed in objection to Vatican II's (relative) modernization of the RCC and in particular claims that there hasn't been a real pope in 60 years because the main RCC switched to using an invalid procedure for making bishops.

So, my rather meandering point is that Catholics can keep the name Catholic as long as they stop supporting the child rapists, but I really wish they made it clear that the problem was in fact the child rape, and not "How dare you cave in to those feminists and start casting your Make-Bishop spells from Second Edition Players Handbook?!"


Dan, if I been drinking milk at the same time as I read the end of your comment, I'd be asking you to buy me a new laptop.

I think maybe the religion <=> D&D analogy has some legs.


@ DSimon: and a bit of Star Wars too.

But I just remembered that I wanted to say more about this issue:

1) Yes countries and governments can be extremely corrupt and oppressive, but you also see massive change in very short periods. I'm not asking 100%, just big enough to notice.

As to wanting to change the church from within: ok, but you won't do it without a mojor shit-storm, which is really I think what Greta's point is here. A bit of non-abusive charity and some quiet huffing & puffing just doesn't cut it. At least organize some protests!

2) Re: charity. I would like to point out that much of the charity the church does, even the completely sincere, non-abusive charity, wouldn't be neccessary if the catholic higher-ups would keep their creepy noses out of politics.

Further, saying that at least this organization, which is guilty of not only masssive child rape and coverups of said rape, but also a long list of other crimes, does some nice charity work, is like saying at least Musolini supported (some of)his country's arts culture...


I'd love to oblige, but I left the Church long ago before any of this even came out.

I'm not sure whether I'd rather be able to say I've left the Church in protest over this, or that I saw through them before it was obvious they were morally bankrupt. Either way, I'm stuck with the latter.

Theodore Seeber

I would argue this:
1:500 Priests rape children. This is an established fact.
1:120 Public School Teachers rape children. This is also an established fact.

So why do you still pay taxes and support the Democrats giving money for public schools?

I do because the institution is NOT equal to the sum of it's parts, or even equal to the few teachers or priests that as you put it, get away with raping children.


@Theodore Seeber:
If it turned out that schools were regularly hiding paedophiles - that is, as soon as they found out that a teacher was molesting students, they promptly did their very best to shut everybody up about it - there'd be a riot. If it turned out that in every level of the government, from principals to school boards to state governors or provincial premiers right up to the head of state had in some way been concealing it, I genuinely believe there would be a revolution.
But there hasn't been. And why? Because when a school discovers one of their teachers is a kiddy fiddler, they fire him/her and turn him/her over to the police. If there are any who are hiding it, it's not a problem that's endemic to the entire system. And to drive the point home, schools are not claiming to be the representatives of God's will on Earth, and thereby qualified to pass moral judgement on the whole of humanity.
There are some things you can't help, but you can always help how you react to them. The Catholic Church as an institution has reacted in a morally bankrupt way to a problem within its ranks, and as such it opens itself to criticism. It's decided that the "Universal Church" is more valuable than protecting children from sexual predators. That is all there is to it.

Greta Christina

Theodore: There is one huge problem with your argument. And that's that the public school system does not, as a widespread institutional culture reaching all the way to the top, protect teachers who rape children from exposure and law enforcement; deliberately move said teachers from school district to school district so they can continue to rape more children; keep known child-raping teachers in the school system because there's such a shortage of teachers; deliberately dump teachers known to rape children onto remote and impoverished school districts with little or no access to police; etc., etc., etc. And when child-raping teachers are discovered and exposed, the public school system does not react with systematic stonewalling, rationalizing, and the deflection of blame onto gays, the media, Satan, the children who were raped, etc.

All of which the Catholic Church has done, and continues to do.

You are entirely missing the point of this scandal. The scandal is not that some priests rape children, or even that a lot of priests rape children. That is a tragedy -- but it is not the scandal. The scandal is that the Church systematically and institutionally protected these priests, kept them in positions where they could continue to rape children, and refused to accept any responsibility for what happened.

The scandal is not that some priests rape children, or even that a lot of priests rape children. That is a tragedy -- but it is not the scandal. The scandal is that the Church systematically and institutionally protected these priests, kept them in positions where they could continue to rape children, and refused to accept any responsibility for what happened.
How many times must we repeat this until it's understood?

Also, citation needed re: your numbers.


I'm new to your blog, and a little late to this conversation. But I think I want to send this to my aunt and uncle who are now newly devout Catholics and get their opinions. I also want to send it to my mom who would probably consider this a wonderful article that would make her think about her "church." I doubt it will make her reconsider her position though.
I went to a Jesuit University, I grew up in the church, and now I can't seem to be able to grasp any of the concepts.
I wish I could answer this, but all this article did was pretty much cement my decision to no longer consider the Catholic Church as "my church"

Martin Rady

Interesting read but the basic problem with the arguments put in this blog article can be summarised by 'Don't throw out the baby with the bath water'.

If I found my school, Scouts or local sports club was doing what the Catholic church has been/is doing in not being through enough or consistent enough in digging out and exposing child abuse I wouldn't leave those organisations.

Geeze that's the last thing I would do, as that is effectively abandoning the kids in those organisations to more abuse. Surely the more correct thing to do is to work from within those organisations to make them better and change the people in the senior levels as well?

Now of course there are lots of other reasons not to be part of the catholic church (like not believing in God!), but that's of course is quite a different reason.

There is a certain point where voting with our feet can cause more problems than not.

Dr. Keith J. Lepak

I am a Catholic and not really surprised by any of the comments posted here. A large transnational organization is going to problems developing a coherent response to a series of events most of which occurred decades ago when notions of "treatment" for such persons were very different from what they are now. Anyone familiar with the history of the Catholic Church can point out the cyclical nature of "crises", including sexual scandals, that have plagued the institution. This is more of a reflection on the problems of human nature, than of any sinister institutional proclivity. Any reasoning Catholic, as well as non-Catholic must take account of the fact that the vast majority of priests DO NOT behave in such a way, that the "institution" may have a number of conflicting reasons for its awkward and convoluted response to the "crisis", and that much good continues to be done by both religious and non-religious institutions alike. Your blog is extremely tendentious and lacks any notion of the historical and varied legal dimensions of this problem. Better luck next time.

Frank Incense

Dr. Keith J. Lepak: You say "the vast majority of priests DO NOT behave in such a way" again trying to rationalize and put a bit of a positive spin on the whole thing. But you seem to forget that within that vast majority who DO NOT rape children there is a vast majority (including Herr Ratzinger himself) who DID know of those who raped children and hushed up the fact in a concerted effort to cover it up. Your twisted and patronizing response to Greta's razor-sharp logic is anemic at best. Better luck next time.

Lord Soth

One does not need to leave the Catholic Church, you can just switch to a more progressive Catholic Church. And many have.

The Anglican Church (at least here in Canada) allows women to be priests and now bishops, and priests can marry. The anglican church is basically what the Roman Catholic church will be in 200 - 500 years.

You don't live in the middle ages, neither should your church.

Visit the Anglican Church "The other Catholic Church".

Jesse Weinstein

As of October 2010, the website has suspended their process, due to changes by the Church in how they process the requests.

You may want to update the post to note this.
After reading the post, I felt motivated to print copies of it, and hand them out after Mass at a local parish. After reading the comments, I'm concerned that it won't be effective or useful. What do folks think?

Luke A.

Matthew 16:

(12)...And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, (13) and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.

The Church is the most centralized thing in Christianity. Ok, so I skimmed this article at best and got some of the main points, but that is my main argument. Every denomination and church has its flaw. No man or woman born on this Earth is perfect for we are all susceptible to sin. Jesus said that the powers of Hell won't overtake the church, but that doesn't mean the devil can't get a hold on anyone inside. Pope John Paul II's only regret while he was pope was not dealing with this in a better and more direct way. Even though it may not seem like it, the Church works tirelessly on this issue.

As for the one who mentioned the Anglican Church, you realize that church was founded by someone who couldn't keep his zipper up? Well ok, he wanted a son, but still, he wasn't the best of kings.

To me, you should be asking people: Why are you Christian?


To me, you should be asking people: Why are you Christian?

We ask that all the time.


Luke A: Our problem with Christianity is that it's wrong as a matter of fact. We argue against it, and will let people be if they disagree.

Our problem with Catholicism is that it serves an organization that condones child rape. I will not share my universe with that. Every denomination has its flaws, but most don't have "condoning child rape" in their minuses columns.

And, er, Greta Christina's readership probably doesn't consider "Its founder wanted to divorce" a point against the Anglican church.


I'm an atheist myself, but just to play "Devil's Advocate" here: you know, some Catholics truly believe that if they leave the Catholic Church, they will spend all eternity burning in the firestorms of hell. Assuming that such people can't be convinced otherwise (which, let's face it, is usually the case), what are they supposed to do?

Andrew Stewart

I was a Catholic for 25 years, went to Catholic school, altar server who wasn't raped, whole nine yards. Also gay, so I got really hurt by the Church when they said it was gay priests who raped kids, really destroyed my self-esteem for years. I have already done the therapy and cleared this up, I'm not putting money in their troughs to defend these pedophiles, so is there a certain point where I can let this sit for a few years, just know for my own good the truth in regard to my atheism, and be 'un-baptized' on my own schedule?

Arthur Ward

The Catholic Church is the only institution in the world that I know of in which you must watch your booty rather than your wallet.

Pheelyp Aytona

After giving your question some thought, I submit that I remain in the Church because of faith. I truly believe that Jesus Christ founded the Church and thus the full means to find salvation is in it.

We believe that the Church, though divinely instituted, is made up of sinners, and is thus always a pilgrim church, ever journeying towards but never fully reaching on earth perfect obedience to the will of God. So, even if the hierarchy makes mistakes, it remains for us the Church of Christ through whose sacraments grace flows.

Having said that, I do not condone the epic errors that the Church committed in this age and in others, and I think that it should respond to this current crisis in a more responsible manner.

Moreover, I think that Catholics have a duty as baptized to work for change within the Church so that we would grow ever closer to approximating our behavior with the demands of God, who we believe is Justice and Love. Others have done so through the centuries and have influenced change in terms of slavery, sexuality, evolution, science and the like.

This process takes time. It is possible that my individual ways of acting out my moral responsibility to change the Church for the better (praying, writing letters, living out my life ethically as much as possible) would take time to bear fruit. Possibly because people in the hierarchy may not be as responsive to their consciences as they should be.

But essentially, staying in the Church that I believe is divinely instituted and working to nurture what is good in it and correct was is bad is a legitimate response to this recent scandal of institutional abuse of power.

Carl Armbruster

Well gee whiz Pheelyp, you are right - I never thought of it that way. Heck, the church is made of sinners who are on a journey to improve. Sure they sold indulgences but they changed from within. Sure they condoned slavery (the bible sure does) but they change from within. Burned few witches in their day? Sure, but who hasn't? Yes, they sided with Nazi Germany, but heck, we all make mistakes. I mean who among us hasn't raped a child or two? Your continued support of this revolting institution is absolutely disgusting.

As a boy of 8 years old my dad was beating the backs of my hands with a wooden cooking spoon. I prayed to god for it to end. The spoon broke and I silently thanked god. My dad reached into the drawer and got out a metal cooking spoon and started right back up. Guess I just didn't pray hard enough - my fault.

You can't take your Jesus and your sick, twisted god cause I sure don't need them.

Pheelyp Aytona

I am sorry to hear that your father physically abused you, Carl. That should not have happened.

However, I think that your father continued abusing you not because you didn't pray hard enough. God is not a genie who magically takes our suffering away. Suffering is a result of an abuse of human freedom; for there to be no suffering ever, there has to be no freedom ever, and that is not in consonance with human dignity.

Jesus did not come to take away our pain but rather to make it ultimately meaningful. Worthwhile. By contextualizing our hurts in the framework of eternal life.

That's my belief.

You think my support of an imperfect institution is absolutely disgusting because of those incidents that you mentioned. But you yourself admitted that we all make mistakes. By your logic, should we all withdraw support from imperfect institutions?

Baron Scarpia

we all make mistakes.

I'm pretty sure I haven't made the mistake of systematically protecting child rapists.


I just donated a little (and I mean LITTLE) cashola to you. As a Wisconsin public school teacher, I've had a little pay cut recently. But in my own tiny way I'd like to say thanks to you for all the work you've put into your writing and sharing it with me. I'd say I agree with about 95% of what you've written, and it's been a long time since I've had that high of an agreement rate with anyone. Good work!

Larry Cook

I was going to comment by saying, "I love you", then I saw the first comment is exactly that. I have been ranting about this for forty years or more and I don't think anyone ever hears me. At my all boys catholic high school, all the kids knew who the pedophile priests were and the other priests knew and that tells me the other teachers knew which means the administration knew and that means some of the parents knew. And nobody ever did anything about it. It's absolutely mind boggling. I think they think it's no big deal. Some of them. I actually have some complex thoughts on the issue and its solution. Too much to write here. When I get my thoughts together on my web site, I'll give you the link. In the meantime, I would like to put a link to your blog on my site. I think you want to share this.

John Harman

I know this is ridiculously late, but nobody in the comment thread has yet specifically refuted Theodore Seeber's blatant lie about the proportion of priests who molest children. Theodore could not give a citation for his "one in five hundred" claim because he pulled it out of his self-righteous ass (or, possibly, Bill Donohue or Ross Douthat's self-righteous ass). According to The Nature and Scope of the Problem of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests and Deacons in the United States, the comprehensive study commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and carried out by researchers at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, the fraction of American priests active between 1950 and 2002 who were the subject of accusations of child abuse substantiated by their dioceses was roughly one in twenty-five (4,392 priests, out of 109,694 who served parishes in the USA for some part of the 52-year period covered by the study). Since it's safe to assume that many of the accusations that were *not* substantiated by the priests' superiors were nevertheless true, and that many priests who preyed on children were never reported by their victims, the actual proportion was probably between one in twenty and one in ten.

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