"Among the 2% who are paedophiles are priests, bishops and cardinals. Others, more numerous, know but keep quiet. They punish without giving the reason," Pope Francis was quoted as saying."So how many actual clergy does that come out to?
From a Georgetown website I was able to get a chart of numbers for the United States over five year intervals from 1965 to 2014.
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The chart lists total priests (not bishops or cardinals) in 2014 as 38,275. Two percent of that equals just about 765 paedophile priests in the US.
That, of course, assumes that the 2% figure is uniform from country to country, which I doubt is an accurate assumption.
Today's Catholics reported in 2011,
"The Vatican said the number of bishops in the world increased to 5,065 from 5,002; the number of priests went from 405,178 to 410,593, increasing everywhere except Europe."
That gives us a total of 415,595 bishops and priests (in 2011). Again, we can't assume that the 2% figure is the same for priests and bishops, but the number of bishops is so low, comparatively, that it shouldn't matter. A ballpark figure would be 8,300.
Before hitting the 'publish' button I reviewed the original article to see if it answered some of my questions - like whether this was a statistical or actual number. This post is a good example of why people should read before they blog. The original article answers the questions I was asking.
"In the interview, Pope Francis was quoted as saying that the 2% estimate came from advisers. It would represent around 8,000 priests out of a global number of about 414,000.On the positive side, I did get pretty close to the Pope's estimated figure.
While the incidence of paedophilia as a psychiatric disorder in the general population is not accurately known, some estimates have put it at less than five percent."
So, What Comes Next?
Administratively, the Vatican has quite a challenge on its hands to identify clergy who are pedophiles and then take action. For those who have been accused, identification is easy - though not certain. For those who have not been accused, it will be much harder.
Prevention through education of everyone in the clergy on how to identify signs and what actions MUST be taken would seem essential. This should include ways for clergy to get counseling and safely and honorably out of the church for those who find themselves tempted, but haven't yet acted on their temptations. Education of parents and children on appropriate and inappropriate behaviors would also go a long way.
Obviously, the church needs to put children's safety above the rights of clergy. By that I mean, it would seem a greater harm to have a child molested than to have an innocent priest removed from a position where he might molest a child.
Once someone has been identified (accused), removal from any contact with children seems to be step one. Investigation and determination of appropriate action seems to be step two.
If the numbers are accurate, it will be a real challenge to replace that many priests.
My guess is that women are less likely to be pedophiles than men. Could the loss of 2% of the Catholic clergy be the tipping point that allows women to become priests? I don't know nearly enough about Catholic doctrine and policy to hazard a guess.