Understanding that one case of clerical abuse against any minor is reprehensible, evil and intolerable, we should also be aware of the progress our Church has made protecting our children in the recent years.
The chart directly above is from the John Jay study (2002) - the most comprehensive study on this topic -and shows the strides the church has made in addressing this issue and the rapid decline shown in these atrocities during the last two Papacies.
Rich Leonardi at Cincinnati.com puts into context how effective the Church's implemented efforts have been to protect children with some recent data:
"By virtually all accounts, [Benedict XVI's] reforms have been successful and, coupled with the efforts of local bishops, have led to a sharp decrease in incidents of abuse. In 2009, only six credible accusations were reported in the United States for a church that counts more than 65 million members. (By way of comparison, a 2004 study commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education found that nearly 10 percent of U.S. public school students reported having been targeted with sexual attention by school employees.)
While any case of abuse is a case too many, the church's record of safety is a remarkable achievement for such a large organization; we have Pope Benedict to thank for that."
So 6 cases in 65,000,000. I tried to get a percentage to visually show you how small this number is, but the calculator that comes with MS Office could not display a number this low and came up with an error message. Then I went to an Excel spreadsheet and it could not display it either; another error message.
By way of comparison (and to underscore what Leonardi infers), VCR friend Tom Hoopes quotes Hofstra University researcher Charol Shakeshaft with a comment that **should** unleash a media frenzy and widespread investigations if the mainstream media had any legitimacy, or desire, to investigate their Democratic Party sibling, the public school teachers' union, at the same level of intensity they have unleashed against the Catholic Church, stating: "
"...Hofstra University researcher Charol Shakeshaft looked into the problem [of abuse in the public schools], and the first thing that came to her mind when Education Week reported on the study were the daily headlines about the Catholic Church.“[T]hink the Catholic Church has a problem?” she said. “The physical sexual abuse of students in schools is likely more than 100 times the abuse by priests."
Then Hoopes quotes a piece by Wayne Laugesen that drives a bus through the double-standard:
..."Yet, during the first half of 2002, the 61 largest newspapers in California ran nearly 2,000 stories about sexual abuse in Catholic institutions, mostly concerning past allegations. During the same period, those newspapers ran four stories about the federal government’s discovery of the much larger — and ongoing — abuse scandal in public schools."
So while I read yet another New York Times' piece this morning, we should all be able to easily identify with assurance what is going on here.