It’s Not Only Boys!
In a summary of the news, NCR says, “Paul Moses reports for The Daily Beast on how adult women in churches are frequently targets of sexual harassment by clergy.” The implication is that Catholic priests are also abusing adult females. They’re not all perverts! In the past, the Catholic Church went to great lengths to suppress evidence that priests had sex with adult women. These holy men were assumed to be celibate, and this would be scandalous. But with all the news about priests raping boys, sex with adult females has suddenly become good publicity.
But the link involves a nationwide survey of all adults, of which Catholics comprise about 20%. The study in question “found that 3.1 percent of women who attended services at least weekly had experienced a sexual advance as an adult from their clergy member or religious leader.” First of all, relatively few adults attend church weekly, and while a majority of these are likely to be female, we are still dealing with small numbers. The survey does not break this 3% out by Catholic vs. Protestant, and it is likely that abuse by Protestants overshadows that of Catholics. In other words, the number of Catholic women complaining of abuse was probably negligible.
Priests certainly do abuse adult women, but usually under very different circumstances. Richard Sipe, in his Celibacy in crisis: A secret world revisited (a 2003 update of his A Secret World), discusses this. When priests complain of their lustful urges, bishops often recommend they have sex with their housekeepers, or nuns if they are readily available (p. 87). In a pinch, other mistresses will do. The main thing is to do it discreetly and avoid scandal. (It goes without saying that masturbation is first choice, even though it violates their vow of celibacy and is a mortal sin. Women are just a fallback option.)
Most priests do not use condoms – either with men or women. When women get pregnant, they are often told to get an abortion, since it would be scandalous for a priest to father a child.
Media never conveys the depth of hypocrisy and immorality of the Catholic Church.