Americans See Catholic Clergy Sex Abuse as an Ongoing Problem

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St. Helena Cathedral in Montana, USA. In the 21st century, truth seeking and religion should be an individual sport rather than a group activity. Please see the collection of articles at the end of the post

Source: Pew Research Center

More than 15 years after U.S. bishops pledged “zero tolerance” for sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests, reports of previously unpublicized misconduct continue to receive wide media coverage. A Pennsylvania grand jury last year uncovered decades of sexual abuse and coverup by Catholic leaders, and Cardinal Theodore McCarrick – formerly the archbishop of Washington, D.C. – was forced to resign amid allegations that he sexually abused adults and minors.

Americans are paying attention. A new Pew Research Center survey finds that about nine-in-ten U.S. adults – including 95% of Catholics – have heard at least “a little” about recent reports of sexual abuse and misconduct by Catholic priests and bishops, including a clear majority who say they have heard “a lot.” And, overall, about eight-in-ten U.S. adults say the recent reports of sexual abuse and misconduct by Catholic priests and bishops reflect “ongoing problems that are still happening” in the church. Far fewer (12%) think the recent reports reflect “things that happened in the past and mostly don’t happen anymore.”

While U.S. adults generally agree that the recent reports of sexual misconduct by Catholic priests and bishops reflect continuing problems, the public is divided over whether this is a problem unique to the Catholic Church. Roughly half of survey respondents say sexual abuse and misconduct is more common among Catholic priests and bishops than among leaders in other religious traditions (48%), while a nearly identical share say abuse is equally common among leaders in other religions (47%). Just 3% say abuse is less common in the Catholic Church than in other religious traditions.

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