Media Excerpt
The Problem of Prevention in Clergy Sexual Abuse

A. W. Richard Sipe
in Wolves within the Fold
Anson Shupe, Editor; Rutgers University Press

Institutions whose members have abused minors are vitally concerned about preventing further transgressions. Four areas impede the development of an adequate program for the prevention of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy and religious:

(1) Lack of methods to screen out possible sexual offenders from candidates for the priesthood or religious life:

(2) A widespread and protean pattern of denial by church authorities and devoted lay Catholics, including, rationalization, avoidance, and shifting of blame;

(3) Ecclesiogenic factors of sexual abuse: Elements of church teaching and practice that contribute to the development, preservation and protection of abusing clergy; and

(4) Priesthood lacks a set of professional ethical standards regarding sexual behavior and recognition of informed consent.

This chapter explores these obstacles to prevention.