The Catholic church has released another report into child abuse claims — but this one says something we’d never expect.
“We’ve got to ask the question about whether celibacy was an added and an unbearable strain for some.”
Trigger warning: This post deals with child sexual abuse and may be triggering for some readers.
There have been a lot of reasons to question the Catholic church’s approach to child sex abuse allegations lately — but today, a surprisingly progressive move by a church council is being welcomed by critics.
A landmark report released today by the Catholic church has linked the vow of celibacy taken by Catholic priests with child abuse — marking the first time the church has made this link, The Australian reports.
The Activity Report — by the Australian church’s Truth, Justice and Healing Council, which is coordinating the church’s response to the national Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse — addresses key concerns that came to light after its engagement with people affected by the abuse of thousands of children by priests.
The SBS reports that under a section on culture and “clericalism” (the abuse of priests’ powers over others), the Activity Report examines how this might have played a part in contributing to abuse.
“Obligatory celibacy may also have contributed to abuse in some circumstances,” the report concedes.
It suggests that “ongoing training and development, including pyscho-sexual development, is necessary for priests and religious (figures in the church)”, The Australian reports.