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Sex, Priests, and Secret Codes: The Catholic Church's 2,000 Year Paper Trail of Sexual Abuse Hardcover – March 29, 2006
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"Drawing on their skills as canonists and researchers, the authors construct a compelling forensic account to support their thesis." -- The National Catholic Reporter
A great, very important book...the bishops DON'T want you to read. -- Eugene Kennedy, author of
A hard-hitting exposé ... -- David Yonke, Toledo Blade, July 1, 2006
A much-needed read. -- Online Catholics
Gold Medal, Religion -- 2007 Independent Publisher Book Awards
They discuss...the failure of the hierarchy to manage priest perpetrators or provide succor to the children. -- Reference & Research Book News in Reference & Research Book News on August 2006
This is a page-turner that reads like The DaVinci Code, except that this well-documented book is NOT fiction. -- Kenneth E. Lasch, JCD in FatherLasch.com
From the Publisher
2007 Independent Publisher Book Awards, Gold Medal, Religion
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Sipe states in the Preface to this 2006 book, "this book... demonstrates without a shadow of a doubt that the sexual abuse of minors by priests is not a recent of a local phenomenon... Unfortunately this crime... has been an open wound on the Body of Christ for as far back as records are kept... It lays bare the extent of clerical child abuse, the harm that betrayal and abuse inflicts on its victims, and the utter failure of the hierarchy to properly manage the priest perpetrators or provide succor to the children. But this book is not an assault on the Catholic Church... This book is written with anguish for the sufferings of the children abused and the harm that is being done to their church, not just by the modest proportion of priests who commit these crimes, but also by the bishops who failed in their fundamental duty to protect the faithful... Nor is this book an attack upon celibacy. The authors... respect it as a well-worthwhile and sanctifying living style for those who choose to live it successfully... However, research indicates that a majority of Catholic clergymen do not live up to this ideal... [The book] describes the clerical network that enables the abuse to be perpetrated...." (Pg. ix-x)
They note, "The public exposure of clergy sexual abuse of youth that began in the mid-1980s was mistakenly believed by many to be a new phenomenon, which of course it was not. Yet... the Vatican issued no disciplinary documents until 2001... this was the first attempt by the Vatican to take concrete steps to contain the problem. The 2001 document reflects... significant developments however: The bishop or other superior of an alleged perpetrator of sexual abuse was obliged to send the results of his preliminary investigation to the Vatican, and officials there would decide if the case would be processed in the Vatican or returned to the local diocese for prosecution... The canonical age of a minor was raised from 16 to 18... The statute of limitations was extended to ten years...The Pontifical Secret... was imposed on all officials connected to any cases, but no mention was made of imposing the secret on accusers or witnesses." (Pg. 51-52)
They observe, "The vast majority of homosexually oriented priests do not abuse minors. However, the question of homosexuality is sometimes confused with the issue of sexual abuse of minors also because a disproportionate number of the victims of clerical sexual abuse are male minors. Some clinicians report that 90 percent of the sexual victims of priests are male; others put the percentage at closer to 70 percent... by all accounts ... priests molest a larger percentage of minor boys than do abusers in the general population." (Pg. 211)
They also point out, "The histories of many priest abusers record that they were abused in their childhood by an adult, and a large number of those adults were priests or religious brothers. A significant number of priests introduce candidates for the priesthood to sex. In fact, 10 percent of priests report that they had some sexual contact with a priest or fellow seminarian in the course of their studies. Such activity forms a basis for a network of priests aware of each other's personal sexual proclivities and behavior. This forms a formal and informal tangle of possible blackmail." (Pg. 213)
This book is a significant study of the issue of Catholic clergy sexual abuse, and will be of great interest to anyone studying the issue.