Skip to comments.Letter about Catholics wrong about Protestants [re claim 10% of Protestant clergy are sex abusers]
Posted on 06/03/2011 7:41:18 AM PDT by Alex Murphy
In the May 30 Chronicle, As Readers See It, “excerpts of an article written by non-Catholic, Sam Miller, a prominent Cleveland Jewish businessman” listed “the good things the Catholic Church has done.” This email was forwarded to the Chronicle by Elizabeth Zagar, who stated that she received it from a friend, also by email. It is true that the Catholic Church has done wonderful things, and I appreciated the article very much.
However, Sam Miller states that, “10 percent of the Protestant ministers have been found guilty of pedophilia. This is not a Catholic problem.” That statement seemed so far off base that I went to the Internet and found article after article quoting the same statistic; one had 12% of all Protestant clergy!
Finally, I found the National Catholic Register website where a letter of apology was printed by a woman who forwarded the same article that appeared in the Chronicle. It is entitled: “A Correction and an Apology” by Danielle Bean. She states: “But I should have dug a little deeper and looked more closely at some of the other parts of the speech. The rest of the speech, in which Mr. Miller relies heavily upon statistics found in an article from Sojourners magazine, cites an erroneous statistic of “10 percent of Protestant ministers have been found guilty of pedophilia.”
“This statistic was later corrected by Sojourners, but it had already been picked up by Miller and others. The facts are clarified in an email I received from Rev. Rob Pollock of Vancouver, BC:’ “The article you reference in your recent post “Jewish Advice…” contains false and defamatory information about Protestant ministers. In the original speech Mr. Miller cites, and reads extensively from, a July/August 2002 Sojourners article by Rose Marie Berger in which she misinterprets statements from Penn State Prof. Philip Jenkins regarding sexual abuse by Protestant ministers.”
“In the original article Berger writes ... ‘Philip Jenkins concludes in his book “Pedophiles and Priests” that while 1.7 percent of Catholic clergy have been found guilty of pedophilia (specifically of boys), 10 percent of Protestant ministers have been found guilty of pedophilia.’ (This quote is used in Miller’s speech) To which Philip Jenkins responds (Sept/Oct 2002) ... ‘I regret to say that the statement is baloney. I never said it, and it’s not true!... Every time this 10 percent statement appears attributed to me, I try to debunk it, but these things have a life of their own. I have no idea what the actual proportion of pedophile protestant clergy is, but I would be amazed if it was more than a fraction of one percent.’
In his rebuttal Rev. Pollock writes, “Regrettably, a much condensed version of Miller’s speech, as referenced on your blog, has recently gone viral within the Catholic community by way of the Internet and email. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of blogs, forums, Facebook pages, and news services that have posted this condensed version of Mr. Miller’s speech. It truly saddens me that such ‘false witness’ can be so uncritically accepted and further disseminated by so many within the Catholic community. It seems that we still find it easier to believe the worst about our neighbor rather than dig a little deeper for the truth.”
The web address for the National Catholic Register article is as follows:
'Be Proud You Are Catholic' Speech Contains Error
....Philip Jenkins responds... ‘I regret to say that the statement is baloney. I never said it, and it’s not true!... Every time this 10 percent statement appears attributed to me, I try to debunk it, but these things have a life of their own. I have no idea what the actual proportion of pedophile protestant clergy is, but I would be amazed if it was more than a fraction of one percent.’
....“Regrettably, a much condensed version of Miller’s speech, as referenced on your blog, has recently gone viral within the Catholic community by way of the Internet and email. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of blogs, forums, Facebook pages, and news services that have posted this condensed version of Mr. Miller’s speech. It truly saddens me that such ‘false witness’ can be so uncritically accepted and further disseminated by so many within the Catholic community. It seems that we still find it easier to believe the worst about our neighbor rather than dig a little deeper for the truth.”
The web address for the National Catholic Register article is as follows: 'Be Proud You Are Catholic' Speech Contains Error
See also this: Sojourners Commentary:
NOTE: An earlier version of this article contained incorrect statistics about Protestant ministers and pedophilia, misinterpreting information from the book Pedophiles and Priests by Dr. Philip Jenkins. The information has been corrected. Dr. Jenkins' comments are below.--The Editors
In an article in Sojourners, Rose Marie Berger wrote the following:
"Philip Jenkins concludes in his book Pedophiles and Priests that while 1.7 percent of Catholic clergy have been found guilty of pedophilia (specifically of boys), 10 percent of Protestant ministers have been found guilty of pedophilia."
I regret to say that the statement is baloney. I never said it, and it's not true!
In PEDOPHILES AND PRIESTS, I was attacking a statistic that claimed that a proportion of Catholic priests were pedophiles on the basis that the sample was worthless, since all the men involved were undergoing psychiatric treatment. Hence, you could not extrapolate that figure to the whole priestly population. In order to demonstrate the foolishness of the argument, I cited another study of protestant ministers UNDERGOING TREATMENT, which found that ten percent of them were also pedophiles. By this argument, I remarked - as a reductio ad absurdum - then ten percent of protestant clergy were also pedophiles.
(By the way, pedophilia is a psychiatric condition not a criminal offense, so nobody can be "found guilty of pedophilia")
Every time this ten percent statement appears attributed to me, I try to debunk it, but these things have a life of their own. I have no idea what the actual proportion of pedophile protestant clergy is, but I would be amazed if it was more than a fraction of one percent.
I hope that clarifies my position.
Ms Berger may well be making an excellent point - that there is no evidence that abuse rates are higher for protestant than for catholic clergy. But this particular figure is a kind of urban legend.
Distinguished Professor of History and Religious Studies
Pennsylvania State University
“Finally, I found the National Catholic Register website where a letter of apology was printed by a woman who forwarded the same article that appeared in the Chronicle. It is entitled: ‘A Correction and an Apology’”
No doubt we will soon see such an apology issued by people in this forum who exaggerate the number of Catholic clergy who are pedophiles.
Who should apologize for the John Jay study's results?
But what about the people who seem to think that all, or nearly all, priests are perverts, and who call anyone who disputes that idea a "pedophile defender"?
It seems weird to use the category “Protestant” anyway, when comparing something like this to the Catholic church.
Shouldn’t they compare particular denominations to the Catholic denomination, such as the Lutheran church, or the African Methodist Episcopal, or the Presbyterian whatever so that we can see how particular denominations do, rather than compare one specific, tightly run church to a collection of everything outside of it?
Hasn’t the number of Protestant abusers come out as MORE than Catholic priests?
Those are the numbers I remember.
Shouldnt they compare particular denominations to the Catholic denomination, such as the Lutheran church, or the African Methodist Episcopal, or the Presbyterian whatever so that we can see how particular denominations do, rather than compare one specific, tightly run church to a collection of everything outside of it?
The John Jay Study (see threads here, here, and outside coverage here) - commissioned by the U.S. Catholic Bishops' National Review Board itself - found that the number of accused Catholic priest abusers equaled four percent of the entire Catholic priest population. The John Jay study's findings are more than conclusive - they're exhaustive of the entire US population of Catholic priests....
....As I've said elsewhere, every study I've been shown of "Protestant" abuse (which include many of the websites your Google search links to) included volunteers and laypersons. The John Jay Study did not address these groups when they looked at Catholic parishes. If we exclude volunteers and laypersons from the "Protestant" studies (thereby creating a "pastor vs priest" apple-to-apple comparison), we arrive at a roughly 1% abuse rate for all "Protestant" pastors, or (in other words) at least a four times greater likelihood that any given Catholic priest will be a sexual predator, as compared to any given "Protestant" pastor. And that's according to the numbers and studies that Catholics keep telling me about.
Let me throw in one caveat to those comparisons. I found something interesting when I broke down the "Protestant" abuse cases by denomination / affiliation / theological leanings. The more free will / Arminian / synergistic the theology is, and the more independent the association is (as opposed to denominational affiliation), the higher the abuse statistic goes - and conversely, if you just look at the Reformed Protestant denominations, the number of "Protestant" abuse cases statistically drops off the chart by comparison. It's only the average of all "Protestant" pastors that is around 1%. Some independent churches have statistics that are far, far higher than the Catholic average of 4%.
-- Alex Murphy, April 2, 2008
"(S)hould denominational ratios be skewed by independent ratios?"....AFAIK, no one has ever attempted to quantify abuse statistics to show where abuse runs high (or low) among Protestant, Evangelical, and Independent church leadership. My attempts appear to be the first. And I would agree with you that we should compare apples to apples by keeping it ratios to ratios, and not raw numbers to raw numbers. See especially the thread Teachers Vs. Priests - Unequal Treatment In the Media? in which I sayWhile 25,000 hypothesized "accusations" is roughly six times the number of Catholic "accusations", 25,000 cases out of 1,600,000 teachers gives us a 1.3 to 1.56% ratio of sexually abusive teachers out of the entire public school system over a fifty year period - more than twice the volume of Protestant pastoral abuse, and less than half the volume of Catholic priest abuse.-- Alex Murphy, April 2, 2008
If we're after equal treatment in the media, I would expect there to be at least double the number of Catholic news stories as Public School stories, and four times as many Catholic news stories as Protestant news stories based on the percentage of perverts that exist with their respective organizations. IMO the disproportionate amount of coverage is the result of increased interest, when those organizations are caught protecting the abusers at the expense of the victims.
It is not sexual misconduct, rather it is sexual assault, that Catholic priests were accused of in the John Jay Study. The topic isn't "who's accused of sexual misconduct", it's "who's accused of committing a felony against a minor"....Should I consider the intentional conflation of "statutory rape" with "sexual misconduct" to be deflecting attention? Damn straight I do, skippy....Of the 38% of all Protestant clergy being accused of some level of inappropriate sexual contact, only 4.6% have engaged in actual sexual intercourse outside of marriage. And none of them of rape.
If the Catholic apologist were really comparing apples to apples, the real statistics would speak of Protestant clergy accused of criminal sexual contact with minors, or would adjust the John Jay study's four percent upwards to include inappropriate but otherwise legal sexual relations. But the Catholic apologist does no such thing. They start with John Jay's 4%, move on to Protestantism's 38%, and leave the reader thinking that 4% "statutory rape" is comparable to 38% "inappropriate relations". Sometimes you have to keep score, to tell when the other side is moving the goalposts on you.
-- Alex Murphy, September 29, 2009
Hey, it's your church. Feel free to take them to task, if you can prove them wrong.
[Faithful Departed author Philip] Lawler points out that while less than five percent of American priests have been accused of sexual abuse, some two-thirds of our bishops were apparently complicit in cover-ups. The real scandal isn't the sick excesses of a few dozen pedophiles, or even the hundreds of priests who had affairs with teenage boys -- the bulk of abuse cases. No, according to Lawler, it is the malfeasance of wealthy, powerful, and evidently worldly men who fill the thrones -- but not the shoes -- of the apostles. In case after case, we read in their correspondence, in the records of their soulless, bureaucratic responses to victims of psychic torture and spiritual betrayal, these bishops' prime concern was to save the infrastructure, the bricks and mortar and mortgages. Ironically, their lack of a supernatural concern for souls is precisely what cost them so much money in the end.
-- from the thread Kneeling Before the World
"The Dublin Archdiocese's preoccupations in dealing with cases of child sexual abuse, at least until the mid-1990s, were the maintenance of secrecy, the avoidance of scandal, the protection of the reputation of the church and the preservation of its assets," said the report. "All other considerations, including the welfare of children and justice for victims, were subordinated to these priorities. The archdiocese did not implement its own canon law rules and did its best to avoid any application of the law of the state"....
-- from the thread Pope calls Irish church leaders to Vatican to discuss abuse report
If the InsideCatholic.com blog can be believed, two-thirds of all American bishops were complicit in covering up the immoral and illegal actions of 4% or fewer Catholic clergymen. All we can say with certainty is that 96+% - 105,302 Catholic clergymen - were never accused, yet 95 percent of all Catholic dioceses in the United States were impacted negatively. The numbers are more damning for the bishops then they are for the priests.
.... Alex Murphy, Sept. 29, 2009
Those are not what I am referring to.
Having commented myself frequently about abusive priests I’ve always been careful only to refer to confessed/convicted abusers.
The actual percentage is unknown and estimates run from a few percent to less than two percent. But no has exaggerated the figure as the ten percent accusation has.
If they have please point it out.
“No doubt we will soon see such an apology issued by people in this forum who exaggerate the number of Catholic clergy who are pedophiles.”
Not likely nor will we see an apology from those who claimed that it was bigotry on the part of the posters of articles about sexual misconduct of the clergy.
count-your-change. Your integrity is appreciated.
Why? You are all Protestants? That likje diving ice crm into flavors,when it is all still ice cream?
Why? You are all Protestants? That like dividng ice cream into flavors when is all different when it is all still ice cream?
The left is full of that disdain for accurate research.
So....some guy called Jenkins wrote an article about the frequency of clerical sex abuse which was misquoted or misunderstood by a woman named Berger, whose mistakes were picked up by a Jewish businessman named Miller who wrote an article for "The Chronicle"(??) in which he repeated the same mistakes.
Have I got that right?
That's great, Alex. Keep it in front of us.
Quite so. In case after case known abusers were protected and even given letters of recommendation by bishops anxious to foist their problem priests on to some other parish.
The real question is when the other shoe will drop.
We all know that one reason the Catholic Church is targeted is because lawyers need a ‘target’ with what they think are ‘deep pockets.’ The embarrassment to the Priest or Religious charged with a sexual crime is a smear not on just ‘that’ one person or one church or organization, it is an attack on the entire Catholic Church.
Protestants abuse young girls sexually. I was married to one ... but it’s called ADULTERY in the Protestant Church ... and the solution is a divorce and the minister/preacher can remarry without much fanfare if the ‘child’ is over the legal age.
And unless it’s a big name television preacher, the public won’t ever hear about the sexual exploits of most deviant Protestant preachers. FEW Protestant preachers are sued by their child-lovers because VERY FEW Protestant preachers have any money and they’re considered ‘self-employed’ and unable to cash in on their church denomination’s funds.
If it’s a Baptist, like the one across the street from where I lived, the Baptist Church sent him to some ‘counseling’ organization in Texas to be rehabilitated and paid off the woman [in this case, and married] with a sizable “gift.” [However in his previous church he had been with an UNDERAGE girl.] He came back from ‘counseling,’ his wife didn’t lose her position in the community and the ‘other woman’ drove around in a new car. End of story. BARELY made the local paper and only because a reporter caught the reported incident on the Police Scanner.
The public’s lurid curiosity about celibacy is fed by the uneducated sexually deviant purveyors of sleaze and headlines. And some of them are so-called “catholics” who don’t know the Church nor her teachings.
PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHERS sexually abuse children regularly. It rarely makes the papers. Teachers Unions protect the guilty and the child is made out to have ‘enticed’ the teacher ... except MayBe when it’s a Female Teacher and an underage male.
H3LL, if NAMBLA and GLBT and GLSEN had their way, TEACHERS would start having sex with Newborns before they left the Hospital Nursery and call it all ‘education’ ... and ACLU and Teachers Unions would be protecting the sexual deviants.
As long as the public sees sex as a recreational sport and not as a procreative responsibility ... children [heck, everyone] are at risk of rape and sexual abuse.
Inside the marriage of one man/one woman, it’s a whole nuther ballfield. Or bedfield.
WOW, 10%!!! And the state-run media didn’t even notice the error. Interesting, though to give them the benefit of the doubt, they probably checked them first. I’m positive they know the numbers for the Secular Schools though...
“Penn State professor Philip Jenkens reported that between 2 to 3 percent of Protestant clergy are pedophiles. His same study reported that less than 1.7 percent of Catholic priests are pedophiles. There is simply no reason to think that clergy child molesters are solely a Catholic problem. -
***The results of this survey were reported in the book, Ministerial Ethics by Joe Trull and James Carter (2d ed. 2004), and in The Baptist Standard editorial, Churches must act to prevent clergy sexual abuse, 4/22/2002. - (source: The voice of SNAP Baptist)” -
See the above links where the above stats were posted plus more information. The Secular Schools are/were 10 percent (possibly more) and that’s where our focus should be, instead of carrying water for the homosexual predators who have infiltrated our schools at an ever growing rate. Our schools are being run by people who were/are teaching our kids about “fisting”, homosexuality is normal, etc. The English Fabians brought their program to the Fabians in this country, one of which was John Dewey (see their Atheist Humanist Manifesto). They were only to happy to begin the implementation, and as they believed in a gradual process, it wasn’t even noticed by the public-at-large until fairly recently, today we’re seeing the fruits of their labor. It will get worse - HORRENDOUSLY WORSE - unless they’re stopped.
Alex, you’re obviously good at research...I wish you’d do some digging into the Fabians (for a start)...you’d get a rude awakening.
Good post. :)
“Quite so. In case after case known abusers were protected and even given letters of recommendation by bishops anxious to foist their problem priests on to some other parish.”
See links #18 and when you’ve done that we can discuss your comment further.
“The real question is when the other shoe will drop.”
Except for the 10% number (I think it's more like 1.5%), I'm in complete agreement with you on this. I'm no fan of public, i.e. government-funded-and-run school systems, and what you point out is one of many reasons why. Moving children out of public schools and into charter schools, private schools, and home schools is the best solution IMO.
I read sometime last year where a representative of the Education Dept stated 10%. I have no idea where I read it and couldn’t find it a few weeks ago though didn’t try very hard...it has to be out there somewhere - don’t have time to look but will try later.
You mentioned John Jay...:)
Opinion: John Jay report holds lessons for Baptists
“Those other guys are just as bad (or worse) is a defence?
I only deal in that to which I can attach names/dates etc., not anonymous surveys.
What others have done or not is irrelevant to my comment.
Whether you discuss or not is up to you.
A couple of observations:
If you missed this recent post of mine, I find the John Jay Report suspect in at least one area. I think we can all agree that the church had bishops trying to stop the crisis, and others trying to perpetuate it. We know that some bishops (Weakland in America and Vangheluwe in Belgium) not only moved perpetrators around knowingly, but were perpetrators themselves. Yet the John Jay report assigns five categories to sum up bishop responses, yet inexplicably, no category was created for "perpetrators".
And re the ABP article, I think it's a gross error for the author to say that "Southern Baptists have refused to implement any denominational record-keeping on credibly-accused Baptist clergy". There's a key misunderstanding around the issue of ecclesiology: the SBC is run bottom-up, not top-down. The Catholic Church could create such a list, because it's ruled largely from the top down (at least at the Archdiocese level) The SBC simply isn't a central, standing organization that can do so, w/o prior authority from it's independent member congregations. That's why they are called the Southern Baptist Convention, and not the Southern Baptist Denomination. In order to implement record-keeping, the SBC would have to change their organizational model into something more centrally-governed and top-down imposed, which runs against their core beliefs regarding the authority of the local congregation.
Also, the author of this piece, Christa Brown, is a doctorate student at the Iliff School of Theology. Iliff is a United Methodist school, hardly a bastion of political or religious conservatism.
I answered most of your questions on this thread (taken from post #18 - we can continue the discussion there if you want...
“Also, the author of this piece, Christa Brown, is a doctorate student at the Iliff School of Theology. Iliff is a United Methodist school, hardly a bastion of political or religious conservatism.”