Bishops’ Report on Priest Sexual Abuse Scandal Puts the Blame on Woodstock

“Blame Woodstock.”

That, in a nutshell, is the reason for the child sexual abuse scandal by Catholic priests that has unmoored the Roman Catholic church in the US and around the world for the past years — that is, if you have faith in the findings of a five-year study commissioned by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

The study was conducted by a team of researchers at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City and is to be released on Wednesday; the New York Times received a copy of the report in advance. The study found the following to be the answer for the scandal, as reported in the New York Times:

…the abuse occurred because priests who were poorly prepared and monitored, and were under stress, landed in the midst of the social and sexual turmoil of the 1960s and 1970s. Known incidents of sexual abuse of minors by priests rose sharply during those decades, the report found, and the problem grew worse when the church’s hierarchy responded by showing more care for the perpetrators than the victims.

The “blame Woodstock” explanation is the one same floated by bishops and Pope Benedict XVI since the church was engulfed by scandal in the United States in 2002 and in Europe in 2010.

Or as the National Catholic Reporter puts it:

The huge spike in abuse cases in the 1960s and 1970s, the authors found, was essentially due to emotionally ill-equipped priests who were trained in earlier years and lost their way in the social cataclysm of the sexual revolution.

That is, the Catholic Church is blaming “the culture” and societal forces external to the Church for causing case after case after case after case of sexual abuse of children that has engulfed the Church; that has bankrupted dioceses who have been ordered to pay settlements to victims of priest sex abuse in Milwaukee, Delaware, Spokane and throughout the US; and that has led many to ask, what kind of a Church is this?

The study’s researchers also observed that “it was not possible for the church, or for anyone, to identify abusive priests in advance” based on “psychological characteristics.” As the National Catholic Reporter notes, the report says that neither homosexuality nor celibacy were reasons for the sexual abuse scandal.

The New York Times singles out one finding that is among the “most counterintuitive”:

…the report says that fewer than 5 percent of the abusive priests exhibited behavior consistent with pedophilia, which it defines as a “psychiatric disorder that is characterized by recurrent fantasies,” urges and behaviors about prepubescent children.

“Thus, it is inaccurate to refer to abusers as ‘pedophile priests,’” the report says.

This finding is likely to prove controversial, in part because the report employs a definition of “prepubescent” children as those ages 10 and under. Using this cutoff, the report found that only 22 percent of the priests’ victims were prepubescent.

The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders classifies a prepubescent child as generally age 13 or younger. If the John Jay researchers had used this cutoff, a vast majority of the abusers’ victims would have been considered prepubescent.

The study is entitled “The Causes and Context of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests in the United States, 1950-2002.” Because the report is based on data provided by the church’s dioceses and religious orders, victims advocates have already “attacked the report as suspect.”


Previous Care2 Coverage

Priest Scandal Engulfs Philadelphia; Monsignor Among Those Charged

Prominent Jesuit Scholar Accused of Abuse

The Sex Abuse Scandal and the Church That Did Not Know Right From Wrong


Photo by Kamoteus (A Better Way).


Bob Stuart
Bob Stuart8 months ago

For over a century before Woodstock, priests in Quebec had sex with any unmarried young woman they fancied. My ex was raped daily as a novitiate in the mid-fifties in Saskatchewan.

Peggy B
Peggy B8 months ago

Seriously? This is their excuse?. What does the adult sexual revolution have to do with pedophilia?

Danuta W
Danuta W8 months ago

Thank you for sharing

Andy Walker
Past Member 4 years ago

This is a mad,bad and dangerous proposition.

Duane B.
.4 years ago

We might as well just blame it on the Middle Ages!

Natasha Salgado
Past Member 4 years ago

This is def one of the most idiotic things i've read lately...and i've heard a few. The Roman Cathoilic Church is an absolute disgrace!

Ellen R6 years ago

Well in a weird sense the report is right. Churches were not prepared for generations of people who would not passively accept their victimization. They were not prepared for a new society where victims of violence would speak out and demand accountability.

bob m.
bob m6 years ago

How pathetic; Woodstock generation was deeply commited to growth and also felt the pain of suffering through ignorance and pride.
Yet the "keepers of the "vessels"of religiosity now stumble over each other fleeingack into the "iron maiden" of celebacy ad thedebaucheris of theheart dreamed up thein.
"Al qaida" is doubtless fully engaged with their own hardons at the thought of 72 little girls and 22 powdered little buddy butts ...add infinitum. A special place in sheol awaits them ....forsooth.

Shirley Marsh
Shirley Marsh6 years ago

Wish it were that easy Annmarie L. Religions relieve people of the necessity to think for themselves, to question, and to listen to their own direct line from 'God' - conscience. We all have one. For those who do not wish to take responsibility for their own lives, thoughts and actions, it's a great crutch, even for those who are thinkers in every other field - and this I really don't understand!

I'm not a religious person, neither am I an atheist. I'm a spiritual agnostic! Advances in technology are constantly unveiling the awesome, intricate and interdependent patterns of energy and matter that create the tapestry of the universe. It all fits together too beautifully to be a mere accident. Chaos is gradually being revealed as design. Life is a constant and ongoing miracle, and when people wake up to this, and to their own 'guidance' systems, they will no longer need corrupt and outdated religions to guide their thoughts and actions.

Annmari Lundin
Annmari Lundin6 years ago

And all the abuse that occured before 1950, what are they blaming that on? Catholics, protestants, hindus, muslims, jews, you name it, have all abused their powers against humanity. Be it raping women and children, burning women at the stake or engaging in warfare. What are they going to blame it on the next time?

Ban all religions and get rid of almost all greed, violence, wars, rapes, corruption, terrorism, etc!

Religion IS an opium to the people!