A question often asked by many people I met over the years is “What Makes a Paedophile” it’s difficult to reply, Joe down the street with a wife and four children?, Susan in her late 50s around the corner, living alone?, no its difficult, to tell, you see, Paedophiles don’t have horns, tails or hooves. Paedophiles in reality, look and act like you and me. Except for one key difference, they are secretly and sexually attracted to children. According to The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders by the American Psychiatrist Association, Paedophiles are individuals who are preferentially or solely sexually attracted to prepubescent children, generally 13 years or less. So that we are not confused, not all Paedophiles are child sex offenders, and conversely not all child sex offenders are Paedophiles. Some people who sexually abuse children are not preferentially attracted to children at all. The abuse is a matter of opportunity, the child is a sexual surrogate for an unavailable adult or the abuse represents a need to dominate and control another human being. So to my main question, why does the Catholic Church attract Paedophiles, there is no easy answer. The surge of abuse cases in the 1960s and 70s, 80s, and into the 21st. Century can’t be blamed on the 100% male makeup of the Priesthood, the practice of celibacy or, you know, “the gays”. But the alternative explanations offered raised some troubling new questions. Some researchers attribute the uptick to “opportunity” “emotionally ill-equipped Priests” who “lost their way in the social cataclysm of the sexual revolution of the swinging 60s.” Some researchers say, opportunity and cultural change are responsible for the sexual abuse of children, really? That might seem to imply some unsavoury and disheartening things about human sexuality, but I’m no expert. Again according to the Irish Catholic Bishops, own secret survey, by the Iona Institute, they found that less than 9 percent of accused priests are to be considered Pedophiles, according to the Irish Catholic Church, (and they are such experts on the subject), but that figure is based on children aged 10 and younger, but The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders uses an age ceiling of 13 in its definition of the sexual disorder. A vast majority of the abusers’ victims would have been considered prepubescent” which would make the Pedophilia label seem more apt. So is the rate of sexual offences against children really influenced by “opportunity” I dare to ask…?
It is commonly believed by many professional experts both inside and outside of the Roman Catholic Church, that the percentage of closeted gay Priests in the Roman Catholic Church as a whole is hovering over 78%. Most of these Priests for obvious reasons would be hesitant to acknowledge their own sexuality. Fortunately there’s a tremendous body of research data showing that gay men are no more likely to become sexually involved with a boy than are heterosexual men to become involved sexually with a girl. In fact, lets be honest here, I think that’s one of the great mistakes the Roman Catholic Church made early on, thinking they had a gay problem when in reality they really had a Paedophile problem, through child sexual abuse. Nothing to do with been gay, nor straight. Let’s take for example, an alcoholic, there certainly can be a genetic predisposition for alcoholism and yet whether you have a drink is dependent on whether a drink is available or not, your urges can be heightened by stresses of daily living or you may turn to drink because you’re depressed and want to feel better. So, certainly, if someone has a sexual disorder then that acts as a predisposing factor, but whether they’re gonna act on that sexual abnormality of makeup can be influenced by a number of factors in their environment and that affected them in growing up and so on.
Also let there be no mistake sexual abuse of children has been around, long before the 1960s. So how do you spot a Priest with a Paedophile problem, well the best predictor would surely be to look at both his past and future behaviour with children in his parish, maybe by listening to locals in his parish, and if he has a problem with children, not moving him around to different parishes to hide his sexual and criminal crimes. There is sadly, no personality test that could predict sexual abusers or Paedophiles in anybody, including Catholic Priests. To be fair, there isn’t any evidence that this is more of a problem in the Roman Catholic Priesthood than outside of it. I mean, people try and do blame celibacy, but take for example your local GAA Clubs, they too have had comparable problems. I think it’s so much more egregious and so much more shocking when it’s a Catholic Priest because they’re in a very trusted position. Catholic Priests are supposed to be people with the highest moral standards in their local communities. So, the moral shock and outrage that we experience is far greater than occurs in other cases.
What is it about the Catholic Priesthood that attracts so many Pedophiles? if one follows the news locally or world-wide lately there appears to be a tsunami of male rape victims of child abusing Catholic Priests which just seems to keep rippling outward in country after country, decade after decade. I thought the problem in Ireland was an anomaly and the Roman Catholic Priests in other countries were made of sterner stuff, but this molestation chronicle never seems to end. What is it about the Catholic Priesthood that seems to attract Pedophiles like flies to sticky honey? For a very long time, here in Ireland if a Priest got caught, raping a child, boy or girl, he wasn’t punished. He would be moved, and his heinous crimes were covered up. Soon word spread, among similar Pedophile Priests in the wider community that this Parish is the place to be. Another myth to bust, Priests don't become Pedophiles. Pedophiles become Catholic Priests. Its been suggest by some that some men are trying to hide from their Pedophilia and give in and those men that join for the ability to exercise their Pedophilia. I may be very wrong but I have never bought the idea that celibacy causes Pedophilia, I have seen no evidence to support the case. Does the Catholic Priest become a Pedophile or the Pedophiles become a Catholic Priest.
There was a long-standing tradition of Irish Catholic families steering their un-marriageable sexually suspect children towards religious vocations, it's only in the last 30 years or so that gay and lesbian teenagers had better options, then joining the Religious Orders. If a Pedophile Priest tells the church about himself, it's generally under the cover of the confessional, where it's considered a sin that can be forgiven or an illness that can be treated, not a crime that must be prosecuted with full and open cooperation with police authorities. The alternative is to admit that Mother Church has been complicit in enabling this behaviour for hundreds of years.
If the Roman Catholic Church wants to survive, it needs to drop the celibacy requirement as quick as it can. The other major problem was the molesting Catholic Priest were given a great deal of aid and support in their illegit activities by a very sympathetic Church Hierarchy that would hush up the allegations against one of its own members. The Catholic Priest, would then be moved on to greener pastures, a new Parish mile and miles away, to start all over again working his favourite hobby, raping children.
This the Roman Catholic Church is seemingly the only church with an institutional problem here, which it resolutely fails to acknowledge. Has there been a single statement by the Roman Catholic Church that apologises not just for the presence of Pedophile Priests in its ranks, but for the role of Roman Catholic Church higher-ups, like the Bishops and Cardinals in actively protecting the Pedophile Catholic Priests and finding them new Parishes to prey on the most vulnerable children there. The worse problem was the extreme devotion and trust by the Irish Catholic people toward their Priests. At the time, Irish Catholics considered Priests to be practically infallible and not too far removed from the Pope himself. So if any vulnerable child told his family or friends what the local Priest was abusing him or her, nobody would have believed him or her. The vulnerable child would have been severely punished or locked up in a psychiatric institution for spreading malicious lies about their local holy Priest.
We know that the total number of Priests in Ireland between 1956 to 1960 was about 5,489, according to the Irish Catholic Directory. A survey in 1989 revealed a total of 11,415 Nuns in Ireland, and Religious Brothers working in Ireland were numbered at 9,876 by the late 1960s. Which give us a grand total of 26,780. So according to the Irish Catholic Bishops own figures and survey of 9% of 26,780 is equal to—--2,410;- The Religious Orders at the time in Ireland in the 1960s;- would be the home of 2,410 active Paedophiles. Many leading experts in this field, now believe that this figure is much higher, according to some, just multiply by two for a more realistic figure and even that is to low. But when you take one well known active Paedophile, Brendan Smyth (8 June 1927 – 22 August 1997) was a Roman Catholic Priest from Belfast in Northern Ireland who became notorious as a Child rapist, using his position as a Priest to obtain access to his victims. During a period of over 40 years, Smyth sexually abused and raped over 200 plus children, that is known, and maybe a few hundred more unknown in Parishes in Belfast, Dublin and the United States. His actions were frequently hidden from police and the public by Roman Catholic officials. After his arrest in 1991, he fled to the Irish Republic, where he spent the next three years on the run, enabled and hidden by fellow Catholic Priests. So 200 raped children on average by one active Paedophile, like Father Brendan Smyth and apply that to 2,410 other active Paedophiles known within the Religious Orders, and we have 482,000 raped children. Please don’t take my word for it, research website below….If you want a list of Catholic Priests who sexually abused children, then the excellent website is…..
Owen Felix O'Neill
Owen Felix O'Neill
Author of Child Laundering Secrets, 2017