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The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly

Volume 18, Issue 4, Winter 2018

Rev. D. Paul Sullins
Pages 671-697
DOI: 10.5840/ncbq201818469

Is Sexual Abuse by Catholic Clergy Related to Homosexuality?

Sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests has been a persistent and widespread problem in the Church. Although more than 80 percent of victims have been boys, prior studies have rejected the idea that the abuse is related to homosexuality among priests. Available data show, however, that the proportion of homosexual men in the priesthood is correlated almost perfectly with the percentage of male victims and with the overall incidence of abuse. Data also show that while the incidence of abuse is lower today than it was three decades ago, it has not declined as much as is commonly believed, and has recently begun to rise amid signs of episcopal complacency about procedures for the protection of children.