Sex, Priests, and Secret Codes: The Catholic Church's 2000-year Paper Trail of Sexual Abuse

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Bonus Books, Inc., 2006 - Family & Relationships - 388 pages
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Sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults by Catholic clergy burst onto the American scene in 1984. Revelations about such abuse since then have confirmed that this tragedy is not limited to the U.S. Catholic Church, nor is it a new phenomenon that grew out of so-called secularizing trends of the late twentieth century. The Doyle-Sipe-Wall report clearly demonstrates a deep-seated problem that spans the Church's history. This collection of documents from official and unofficial sources begins its survey in 60 CE and concludes with the contemporary scandal. It reveals an institution that has tried to come to grips with this devastating internal problem from its earliest years. At times circumspect and at other times open and direct, Church leaders tried a variety of means to rein in the various violations of clerical celibacy. The sexual abuse crisis is not isolated from the questions of the celibate practice of all Catholic clergy and the moral questions that involve marriage and all human sexual behaviors. These are the main, yet unspoken, reasons why sexual abuse has been such an inflammatory and dangerous issue for the hierarchy. The Church abuse scandal of the contemporary era, rather than seen as a new challenge, is actually the catalyst for a complex process that is forcing the official Church to redefine its ideology of sexuality, its responsibility to its members and its role in society. The three distinguished authors have served as experts and consultants in over 1,000 cases of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy, and have collectively spent over 70 years of official service within the church.

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User Review  - Oreillynsf - LibraryThing

An impressive and comprehensive piece of research that exposes long term issues in the Church related to celibacy, pedophilia, and pederasty. The 200 year pattern of ignoring the issue, and covering ... Read full review

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A MUST Read!!! A young priest Admitted to me that "The Sin of Fornication is a Lesser Sin than the Sin of Priestly Marriage. We just need to CONFESS it And WE are FORGIVEN! Thereby WE are Protected from the MUCH GREATER SIN of Priestly MARRIAGE."


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About the author (2006)

A. W. Richard Sipe was born Walter Richard Sipe in Robbinsdale, Minnesota on December 11, 1932. His family were observant Catholics and he attended a high school and a college run by Benedictine monks at St. John's Abbey. He became a monk himself and was ordained a priest in 1959. In his first posting to work as a high school counselor, he heard in the confessional about priests who were sexually involved with other priests, priests who had girlfriends, and priests who were involved with minors. He also learned that his predecessor had abused girls. However, these men remained in good standing with the church. In 1967, he became the director of family services at the Seton Psychiatric Institute in Baltimore, a treatment center where bishops sent problem priests. As he got to know the troubled men, some revealed that they had been abused by clergymen themselves. He also heard stories about how church leaders had been dismissive of reports of abuse. He left the priesthood in 1970. In 1986, he presented his findings to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, but nothing was done. In 1990, he published an ethnographic study of celibacy and abuse within the Catholic Church entitled A Secret World: Sexuality and the Search for Celibacy. He was active in the early days of clergy-victim advocacy. He died from multiple organ failure on August 8, 2018 at the age of 85.

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