Pope Benedict XVI feels that the Catholic Church is doing a fine job battling the scourge of sexual abuse of minors in the church. Moreover, he says, the church's actions could help the rest of society. The Catholic News Service adds:
While the church is rightly held to high standards, all other institutions should be held to the same standards as they address the causes, extent and consequences of sexual abuse, which has become a "scourge" at every level of society, the pope said Nov. 26.
Recent news stories about the Penn State sexual abuse scandal and most recently, Syracuse University, have eclipsed the troubles the Catholic church has had regarding the same problem. Meanwhile, in Australia, a Catholic Church inquiry has cleared a priest of rape charges:
Archbishop Hepworth, who was first a Catholic and then an Anglican priest and is now the primate of the breakaway TAC, said no other victim of clerical abuse could feel safe after the Catholic Archdiocese of Adelaide's handling of his complaints.
"No victim in the world will be safe after this type of attack," he said. "Given that so many perpetrators of abuse were moved from diocese to diocese this process leaves the way open for findings in favour of victims in one diocese to be reconsidered by another diocese and overturned.
"I was told I would have to bear the costs of bringing witnesses before the inquiry, which I could not afford and I was also told that no witnesses would be indemnified.
"Adelaide's process, as far as we can discover, was a retrial of the Melbourne process."
Mr Hepworth had accused three priests of raping him.
The Washington Times reports that with the Penn State and Syracuse scandals, along with the Catholic Church scandals, that the wall of silence is being broken down concerning sexual abuse of minors:
The Penn State scandal has begun the demolition of the wall of silence surrounding pedophilia, and like the liberation of East Germany, those victims of childhood sexual abuse now have a fighting chance to find justice for stolen childhoods and vandalized dreams.
As victims of childhood molestation boys face significant and unique barriers in reporting what they intuitively know is inappropriate behavior. Approximately 1,460 children died in 2005 due to child abuse or neglect. Seventy-nine percent of these children were under the age of 4 years old.
Statistically one in eight males are a victim of abuse and a child has to tell seven adults of suspected abuse before he or she is taken seriously. The male ego is conditioned by society with an aversion to weakness, and the crime of molestation incites a lifelong hemorrhage of self esteem that can become fatal if not treated. Rates of suicide among male victims of childhood sexual abuse are 14 times higher than the norm and they are 38 times more likely to die from a drug overdose.