We’ve all heard about the fact that so many Catholic clergy are "in the closet." It’s hard to believe, but it’s true: The Vatican denies that this is the problem–instead, they are blaming the 60s "hippie" generation for today’s epidemic of pedophilia in priests.

A five-year study commissioned by Roman Catholic bishops to provide an answer to what is causing the church’s sexual abuse crisis has concluded that neither the all-male celibate priesthood nor homosexuality are to blame. So what’s the cause? They have conclused that priests who were poorly prepared and monitored, and were under stress, found themselves stranded amid the social and sexual turmoil of the 1960s and ’70s. Sexual abuse of minors by priests rose sharply during those decades, and the problem only got worse when the church’s hierarchy responded by showing more care for the perpetrators than the victims.

Homosexual men began entering seminaries "in noticeable numbers" from the late 1970s through the 1980s. By the time this group became priests, in the mid-1980s, reports of sexual abuse of minors began to drop off. If anything, the report says, the abuse decreased as more gay priests began entering the church. This goes along with what most psychologists report, which is that most sexual abuse is perpetrated by heterosexual (often married) men. Many more boys than girls were victimized by priests, not because the perpetrators were gay, but simply because they had more access to boys than to girls.

In the May 17th edition of the New York Times, Laurie Goodstein quotes Robert M. Hoatson, a priest and a founder of Road to Recovery, who claims that he himself was abused, as saying, "(The report) deflects responsibility from the bishops and puts it on to a sociological problem. This is a people problem. It wasn’t because of the ’70s, and it wasn’t the ’60s, and it wasn’t because of the 1450s. This was something individuals did. "Predictably and conveniently, the bishops have funded a report that says what they’ve said all along, and what they wanted to hear back. Fundamentally, they’ve found that they needn’t even consider any substantive changes."

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