Is there corroborating evidence to support the arguments put forward in a recent study by the U.S. Conference of Bishops that

neither celibacy nor homosexuality can be blamed for the clerical abuse scandal within the U.S. Catholic Church.


clerical abuse is a result of ill-prepared, inadequately monitored and overworked priests performing their duties during the social and sexual turmoil of the 1960s and 1970s

Are there any studies that support this, or conclude otherwise?


2 Answers 2


This report was criticised in detail by Miranda Celeste.

Here are just some of the claims she makes in her blog article:

  • this report’s findings are neither credible nor insightful
  • The funding provided a conflict of interest.

  • It used "limited and untrustworthy data", which was also "acceptable but insufficient", and that the researchers fail "to acknowledge the highly flawed nature of the data in question indicates that the researchers are not credible and that the Causes and Context study’s conclusions are, for the most part, neither trustworthy nor deserving of serious consideration."

  • One of the most egregious aspects of this report is that the researchers arbitrarily redefine “pedophilia” as sexual abuse of victims that were ten years old or younger at the time, despite the fact that the DSM sets the cutoff age at thirteen.
  • When it comes to the second sentence quoted in the original question, she remarks:

    This argument indicates that the researchers need to be reminded of two things: that correlation does not equal causation, something that they either do not understand (doubtful) or actively chose to ignore, and that equating divorce with the “use of illegal drugs” and “crime” and the sexual abuse of children is problematic, to say the least.
  • [Defending an assertion] required the researchers to employ painfully convoluted logic including, once again, the “correlation equals causation” fallacy
  • 1
    That link is an excellent read.
    – Lagerbaer
    Commented Jun 4, 2011 at 5:03

The Cloyne Report shows that these scandals were ongoing up to just a couple of years ago. (The investigation in Cloyne was not into rape by priests, but into the coverup of that rape. It didn't even ask whether the reported events even happened. It merely looked into how the Church hierarchy dealt with the allegations.)

  • 1
    Can you please add a brief and relevant excerpt from the report?
    – Sklivvz
    Commented Jul 27, 2011 at 8:59

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