Top 10 Myths About Clergy Abuse in the Catholic Church, presented by Dr. Thomas Plante

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Here are two important resources from Psychology Today and Thomas G. Plante, PhD, ABPP regarding the clergy sex abuse crisis: an article and a video. Dr. Plante’s bio is below.

Article: Top 10 Myths About Clergy Abuse in the Catholic Church
The one-year anniversary of the Pennsylvania grand jury report on clergy sexual abuse in that region offers a point for reflection from Dr. Thomas Plante.

The 10 myths that Dr. Plante covers in this article are:

Myth 1: Sexual abuse is more common among Catholic priests than other groups of men.

Myth 2: Catholic clerical sexual abuse is still common today.

Myth 3: Most clerical abuse perpetrators have hundreds of young child victims.

Myth 4: Fewer numbers of reported victims in recent years is because it takes decades for victims to come forward.

Myth 5: Homosexual men cause clergy sexual abuse of children.

Myth 6: Mandatory celibacy causes Catholic priests to sexually abuse children.

Myth 7: The lack of women priests in the Catholic Church causes clerical abuse.

Myth 8:  All victims are being totally truthful.

Myth 9: Clerical offenders went into the priesthood so that they could abuse children.

Myth 10: The Church has done nothing to keep children safe and offending priests out of ministry.

Read the article.

Video: This is Dr. Plante giving a TED Talk on this subject, but he only has time to cover 4 items. In this talk, he discusses common misconceptions about clergy sexual abuse as well as how we can help to keep our children safe. This video is suitable for mature teens and adults, given the subject matter.

Thomas G. Plante, Ph.D., ABPP is the Augustin Cardinal Bea, S.J. University Professor, professor of psychology, and by courtesy, religious studies at Santa Clara University and directs the Applied Spirituality Institute. He has published 23 books including Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church: A Decade of Crisis, 2002-2012, Sin against the Innocents: Sexual Abuse by Priests and the Role of the Catholic Church (2004), and Bless Me Father For I Have Sinned: Perspectives on Sexual Abuse Committed by Roman Catholic Priests (1999). He has evaluated or treated about 1,000 clerics or clerical applicants in his Menlo Park private practice including numerous sex abuse victims and offenders. He is also an adjunct clinical professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine. He recently served as vice-chair of the National Review Board for the Protection of Children and Youth for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Find more resources from Catechist on the crisis of clergy sex abuse, go here, and here, and here.

Image credit: haveseen iStock 1162800326

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