Was Something Different in the 60s and 70s?

Tuesday, April 20, AD 2010

Given some of the discussion on John Henry’s post yesterday about the timeline of the abuse scandal, I wanted to do a bit more digging into what the actual statistics of the scandal are.

At the NY Times website, Ross Douthat had written:

There’s no way to be completely certain about this, and clearly there was abuse in the church, and horrid cover-ups as well, going back decades and centuries and more. But the John Jay data suggest that something significant really did shift, and escalate, in the years around the sexual revolution.

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3 Responses to Was Something Different in the 60s and 70s?

  • This is the kind of work that is extremely helpful.

    What would be interesting would be to check the level of supervision in young clergy, and the living associations of older priests. A cleric living in a house of several clergy might have fewer opportunities to engage in addictive behavior. In addition, the community life in a pre-conciliar rectory may have helped some guys steer clear of potential addictions or problems later in life.

    Today among priests I know in many dioceses there is a renewed understanding of the need for support, community, formation, and the spiritual life. This has probably contributed to the better health of clergy over the past few decades and the generally high levels of satisfaction within the priesthood.

    A caution about attributing too much to the alleged moral decay of the 60’s and 70’s. Many outwardly moral people have stumbled on serious immoral trespass in their hidden lives. Addictions can trip up the most moral, the most talented, and the most admired persons. We need look no further than professional sports or musicians or actors to many talented and disciplined people fritter away their lives.

  • In addition, the incidence of abuse of females did not change as dramatically as did the incidence of the abuse of males

    Anyone got an explanation for that one?

  • I remember listening to a tape by Father Benedict Groeschel a number of years ago entitled something like The Real Scanbal in the Church. I didn’t put it in quotes because I am unsure that this was the title. He seemed to date serious problems with a homosexual underground of sorts in the seminaries back in the early fifties.
    Just mentioned as a point of corroboration…