12 April, 2010

2 million Canadians know someone sexually assaulted by priest: Poll

Oh My God! Please may this be an exaggeration or an aberrant poll result. If true, it demonstrates the immense challenge that faces today's priests as we seek to repair the damage that has been wrought upon our parishes. We are all in great need of prayer!

2 million Canadians know someone sexually assaulted by priest: Poll


  1. I don't think that these numbers for Canada are unusually high in relation to the rest of the Western World. They are probably low, in comparison to Third World nations in Central and South America, Africa and South Asia where Catholicism now has a bigger and more dynamic following, where priests are not so supervised and the laity have less opportunity to report abuse to responsive authority.

    This would undoubtedly translate to huge numbers World wide.

    Catholicism has no real link to authentic Christianity. The Pope is an evil clown, posturing charlatan and the Vatican is comprised of nothing more than advance men for his wholly, not holy, fictional theatrical productions.

  2. so much of the recent press has been inaccurate...why would we take this as Gospel?
    We need to remember what sells newspapers.

  3. This poll demonstrates perfectly how the media is out to tar the church. First off how you can draw that conclusion based on a poll of just over 1000 people is beyond me. Incidence of abuse have been shown to very widely across the nation. Would the responses of people in Newfoundland be indicative of every parish in Canada? Second, they use the most sensational number they can. What this really says is 0.058% of canadians know someone abused by a priest. Of course that doesn't sound nearly as damning as throwing out 2 million.
    I think if the media was sincerely looking to put the scope of Catholic abuse in perspective it would have been a a given to ask if they also knew anyone abused by a school teacher, protestant minister, scout leader or doctor. Now that would have been an interesting poll. Thats the survey they would have done if they were interested in doing anything other than smearing the church.


  4. Hi Paul,

    Your math is incorrect: (2 million / 33.5 million) x 100 = 5.97% and not 0.058%. According to Statistics Canada, the population of Canada was 33,504,700 in 2009.

    If the poll only deals with persons over 15 years of age, the number is actually a lot higher: (2 million / 27.8 million) x 100 = 7.19%.

    If this poll is correct, the number of impacted people is staggering.

    If your dismissal of the facts is typical of Catholics generally, then perhaps denial of culpability has reached epidemic proportions within the RCC.

    Think about what you are implying here and just how callous and self-serving it appears to the sex abuse victims and their families.

    Seriously dude...posts like this only make you guys look totally self-serving and out of touch.


  5. My, my, my...all of a sudden, people who love to quote polls to "prove" their own side's arguments are "discovering" that polls lie!

    How very interesting...! Somebody please bookmark this comment thread for future refence/

  6. Hi martin

    My bad math! You're absolutely right. Sorry if I mislead anyone. 6% it is with a margin of error of 3% I think it was.
    But I still take issue with this survey. Asking someone if they know someone thats been abused is kinda open for skewed results. Yeah I have a friend who knows this guy... comes to mind. Not to mention the unholy inquisition being mounted by atheists and others to destroy the church. From the postings that litter the net with anti-catholic bigotry, I'm sure a few could BS on the survey too if they thought it would forward their cause. I wouldn't hang my hat on accuracy of the figure. I contend that this survey was designed to smear the church and nothing more. The fact they didn't ask if people knew of abuse in other faiths or groups attests to that. Had they done that and the numbers were skewed against the church I'd say you might have something there.
    Yes we have a problem and no Catholic denies it. Its a sickening to me as anyone else and our hearts and prayers go out to the victims.
    I just see mob journalism at play and mob mentality in many postings regarding this issue.
    You mention that my mistaken figure shows callousness to victims. That was certainly not my intent and I apologize if anyone was offended. I think its callous that the media and many of the churches more venomous critics are only concerned about people abused by priests and wilfully ignore similar and worst abuse in other faiths and institutions.

  7. Hi Paul,

    I would be a liar if I suggested for a moment that anyone who reports on the sex abuse scandals does not have an ulterior motive. Undoubtedly, many do - but so what? This is simply the way of the world on every news story.

    My point is that there is little real PR value in:

    a) blaming the messengers (i.e. the media);
    b) blaming the blameless (i.e. the broader homosexual community);
    c) minimizing the extent of the problem (with silly statistical games such as yours above); OR
    d) trying to defend the indefensible (e.g insisting everything is just rosey with Ratzinger's handling of the matter).

    All of these tactics just make the Church look like they are trying to deflect blame and denying that there is a serious problem.

    No one is buying what the Vatican is selling right now - except those who are so heavily invested in the Church that it would not matter to them if the pope was turning tricks in the parking lot beside St. Peter's Square. The Vatican's weak apologetics is only useful to the few who have already drunk the Kool-Aid. It gives them a a few face saving phrases for their cocktail party circuit. That's about it. The rest of the world (including most Catholics in the pews) are simply unimpressed.

    Seriously, this problem is not going to go away until real changes are made in your Church. The first step to making a change is to thoroughly investigate the matter.

    IMHO, Catholics ought to insist that the pope appoint an impartial investigator with full powers to uncover the truth. Full access to the archives, records and personelle of the Vatican.

    Catholics should withhold all support until the Church demonstrates full transparency. That ought to be the bare minimum. Anything else just makes you look like gullible sheep ready for shearing.


  8. Martin: For myself, I have no trouble believing the stats, as abhorrent as they are for me as a priest be behold. This is why I, follow in the footsteps trod by people like George Weigel and Peggy Noonan, have said that the media has done the church a great service in forcing it to confront, address and recommit itself to fulfill faithfully the mission which She embodies. This is not to concede my conviction that this whole mess has been exploited by lawyers with a direct financial stake in advancing class-action and personal liability suits. As that old adage goes, 'Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean that somebody's not out to get you!'

    The path to spiritual health for the church is no different from for any individual Christian. It must first examine itself to search for every manifestation of the scandal that has corrupted her soul. Then she must confess, before God and the common priesthood of the baptized. Upon the reception of an appropriate penance, and with a contrite heart she will receive the absolution of this priesthood of the baptized, forgiveness from God, and start anew to fulfill her mission to prepare for Christ's return.

    Pope Benedict XVI has been the first pontiff who has begun to lead the Church towards confession and repentance in these affairs. His sanctions against Marciel and the Legionairies of Christ - effected immediately upon Cardinal Ratzinger's election to the Chair of Peter, when they were at the pinnacle of their power and influence - was just the first of the steps he began to walk in this direction. His personal involvement with the Irish Scandal, his letter of chastizement to the Irish Bishops (forcing the resignation of the Bishops named as culpible in the government report), his private meetings and apologies with victims... this is only the beginning of what we will need to do to if the Church is serious about wanting to be renewed, revised and forgiven.

    Benedict has also called on Bishops throughout the world to step forward and tackle this issue head on by cooperating fully with civil authorities; to 'clean' the Church by revealing what if any information they received about predatory priests, and what they did with that information.


  9. "IMHO, Catholics ought to insist that the pope appoint an impartial investigator with full powers to uncover the truth. Full access to the archives, records and personelle of the Vatican."

    I think you're on the right track, there, Martin, except for who it is that will appoint the investigator. It must not be the pope. It must be an outsider -- a neutral outsider. One who has the confidence of everyone, who has absolutely no ax to grind, and does not have any stake in the outcome of the investigation.

  10. Martin,
    "Seriously, this problem is not going to go away until real changes are made in your Church."

    Changes have been made by the Church and are being made. But the biggest change that needs to take place in the Church today is for all, laity included, to take their mission more seriously. What mission? All members, priests and laity, must strive to become more Christ-like and to bring the love of God to others.
    The Church is not like a fan club. Real Catholics don't just support the Church, they ARE the Church. And as such, they are not scandalized by men's sins. These revelations merely encourage them to pray more, do more penance, and to be better.
    Loyalty to the Church is not always a drink of Kool-Aid. Sometimes it is a mug of bitter aloe.

  11. In Canada, each province has child welfare agencies that are to be contacted whenever someone thinks that there is a need for children to be protected. In Ontario, it's the CAS system. These are the folks that have the mandate... why not turn to them?

    Bishops could invite in the local agency, open up the files on all alleged abusers (since they seem to be more numerous that I would have thought) and let them have at it. If the find cases that are deserving of more investigation, they would refer them to the Police to conduct a criminal investigation.

    This respects the rights of the innocent, is independent (run by the government, not the church) and respects the demands of the law of the land to report.

    Where is the downside of taking this approach?

    Fr. Tim

    P.S. Lady Janus... nice to 'see you' on Facebook! Thanks for dropping by there to say hello.

  12. Tim, I wouldn't be so quick to trust the CAS. Not that most of them aren't trustworthy, but they do have a stake in the outcome. They will not be neutral. They will always take the side of the complainant first, and give it up only reluctantly if the complainant is revealed to have an ulterior motive (in other word, if the complainant is lying).

    Ditto any one government. You want efficiency, and governments are the very nemesis of efficiency! Besides, the only organizations on earth more secretive than the church are governments!

    How about turning it over to the Dalai Lama? Or at least, asking him if he'd be interested in heading up a team...

    Great to see you on FB, too!


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