On Catholic Orphanages

A good article from CNA (Catholic News Agency) on Catholic orphanages (here). Quite unexpectedly, 80-90% of the children in these institutions are not orphans. They have at least one parent, usually a mother who feels she cannot afford to raise them. This accounts for why there are far more children in these institutions than you would expect. This has a number of implications.

It turns out that these institutions are far from efficient: β€œIt costs about 10 times as much to raise a child in an orphanage as it does in a community setting in their home country.” The article suggests it would be far better to convert the orphanages into family care centers, keeping the family intact with various forms of assistance.

This would have an additional benefit. These abandoned children are very needy and easily victimized. It turns out that the good fathers in such Catholic institutions have a remarkably high probability of abusing their charges – in some cases over 40% for sexual abuse alone, not to mention other types of physical and emotional abuse. This has not only proven costly to their reputation, it has resulted in massive legal charges as well.

Clerical pederasts prey on weak victims that they can control. Children in orphanages are easy targets, and are often victimized. Altar boys are another group at high risk. This predatory aspect of clerical abuse is well known, but insufficiently stressed in mass media. It is one of the most common findings in studies on sex abuse in the Church.