A study commissioned by U.S. Roman Catholic bishops concludes that neither the all-male celibate priesthood nor homosexuality caused the church's sexual abuse crisis. The five-year study says the abuse occurred because priests who were poorly prepared and monitored, and were under stress, landed amid the social and sexual turmoil of the 1960s and '70s.
The "blame Woodstock" explanation has been floated by bishops for years but the study was likely to be regarded as the most authoritative analysis of the scandal in the Catholic Church in America.
COMMENT: There's a couple of elephant's in the bishop's fabricated room. Firstly, priests, ministers, schoolteachers, scout leaders etc. have been abusing little girls and boys since opportunity first knocked, which was certainly long before the first hippie started wearing flowers in his hair. Many of the cases against abusive priests in the courts recently have dated back to incidents prior to "the permissive society."
Secondly, the sexual freedom that came in during the 1960s and 70s made legal sex more possible for everyone including the clergy. I expect the chances of being found out for having sex with a consenting adult are no different to being found out for abusing minors. But the Church will forgive you for the first because they're not going to have their asses sued off over some consensual hanky panky.
The only effect the changes in society since the 1960s have had on the obscenity that is child sexual abuse by the clergy is that more cases are now reported. The hippie / free love movement went hand in hand with calls for equality for previously oppressed groups such as women and children. This led to more openness in society and people who would have previously been too downtrodden and uninformed to complain about assaults finding that they could now complain and be taken seriously.
I suppose you could argue that the permissive society has led to people becoming sexually aware and active at an earlier age. But for the Roman Catholic Church to use this as an excuse is just a case of them blaming the victim rather than the perpetrators YET AGAIN.
If you remove legally defined paedophilia from the equation then you are left with a fact that cannot argued with. A far higher proportion of clergy in denominations that insist on celibacy (which is, pretty much, just the Roman Catholics) are tempted into illegal and abusive sexual relationships than in other denominations. Surely Occam's Razor must come into force on this and give us the obvious conclusion that enforced celibacy is potentially extremely bad for the vast majority of priests and downright catastrophic for many of the young people who are in their care.