The Vatican today released what it is calling a “study” on the causes and context of sex abuse of minors by Catholic priests. This “study” is in fact a self-serving report using information fed to the investigators by the Bishops in the U.S. The investigators interviewed none of the survivors of abuse with whom we have worked for so many years, nor did they interview anyone outside of those working with the Bishops. The Bishops certainly gave limited information to the investigators, as they did not give access to their secret files, which reflect the internal cover up and secrecy in handling known predator priests.
The lack of complete information and the extreme bias in the partially self-funded report for the church’s benefit amounts to a self-serving infomercial rather than a real study that would give any meaningful data. This report commissioned by the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops is a vainglorious attempt to look like the innocent actors in the child abuse crisis. Church officials can wave the report and say “see, we did all we could”, and as Laurie Goodstein of the New York Times puts it, cite to the “Woodstock Defense”, blame it on the culture of the 60s and 70s, when in reality, the report does little more than to put up more smoke and mirrors to deflect attention from the real issues, such as the policies and procedures, dictated from the top down, on how to handle priests who abuse children. Our attention will not be deflected by this mockery of the handling of the ongoing abuse crisis. We see this report for what it truly is, more deceit, denial and deception, this time under the guise of a “study” on child sex abuse.