As I disclosed last week, I recently viewed the notable documentary Secrets of the Vatican (2014), on PBS. But I wanted to look at something else the film discussed that I didn’t get to mention.
What was also interesting about the Secrets of the Vatican is what it says about the difference between Catholic and Protestant clergy in regards to sexual abuse. The documentary disclosed that a scientific meeting was organized at the Vatican to learn more about child and adolescent sexual abuse. A distinguished international group of psychiatrists met, evidently in the spring of 2003, including Dr. Martin Kafka, a psychiatrist from Harvard Medical school. According to the documentary, the Vatican evidently was not interested in the number of Romanist clergy who were child abusers though.
Dr. Martin Kafka stated: “The number of Catholic clergy who are accused of, or prosecuted for, child and adolescent sexual abuse vastly outnumber the number of Protestant clergy. So what is it about the Catholic clergy that makes them distinctly different and one of those factors is this issue of suppressing one’s sexuality to better serve God.”
There have been Roman Catholic apologists that have said that Protestant churches have just as many abusive clergy as the Roman Catholic Church. I have not done an extensive study of this myself so it is quite helpful to have someone of Dr. Kafka’s stature declare what he has on this subject. I do not know what Catholic apologists say in response to his declarations, but when one looks at the vast amount of money that the Church of Rome has had to pay out to settle with victims, what Dr. Kafka says makes sense. And those are the cases we know of, as numerous cases have been settled out of the public eye.
In 2007, Reuters reported that “The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles has agreed to pay $660 million to 500 victims of sexual abuse dating back as far as the 1940s.” That was just one diocese. Can one find a Protestant denomination that has faced the same thing? The Vatican has recently been brought before a UN panel to answer for how it has protected children. Has this happened to any Protestant denomination?
What does the Bible say? What does a Catholic Bible say? The Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition, 1 Timothy 4:1 – 3a reads: “Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by giving heed to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, through the pretensions of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and enjoin abstinence from foods.” What omnipresent organization forbids marriage but the Church of Rome? And their own Bible says this doctrine is a doctrine of demons, that it comes through liars, whose conscience is seared. One would think this religious organization might listen to its own Bible, but apparently not.