Study: Swinging '60s Caused Priests To Sexually Abuse Kids

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Research blames sexual revolution, Woodstock era, for Catholic priest sex abuse scandals.

It seems like just yesterday that the news of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church broke. Priests, billed as ministers of the Lord and trusted for spiritual guidance, were charged with inappropriate relations with children. When those charges turned out to be true, the backlash was severe. Now, a study commissioned by Catholic bishops in the U.S. say that the sexual abuse scandals—you know, the ones where some priests couldn't keep their hands off of little boys—are no reflection of the Church itself.

It seems like just yesterday that the news of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church broke. Priests, billed as ministers of the Lord and trusted for spiritual guidance, were charged with inappropriate relations with children. When those charges turned out to be true, the backlash was severe. Now, a study commissioned by Catholic bishops in the U.S. say that the sexual abuse scandals—you know, the ones where some priests couldn't keep their hands off of little boys—are no reflection of the Church itself. Rather, the sexual revolution of the '60s and '70s are to blame.

 

Poor monitoring of priests and the high stress associated with the social and sexual turmoil of the times are the primary reasons for abuse, according to this Woodstock theory. The men found themselves unprepared to deal with the temptations and social upheaval of the times, thus falling victims themselves to the expanded permissiveness of society. Essentially, they lost their way.

The argument comes as a result of a study funded primarily by Catholic organizations and conducted by researchers at John Jay College of Criminal Justice at the City University of New York.

When news of the sexual scandals broke, many immediately jumped to two conclusions in an effort to explain why. First, that the priests who committed the acts of abuse were gay. Second, that the culture of the priesthood—celibate and all male—was to blame.

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