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Jimi Hendrix and Haight Street in San Francisco Caused Priests to Molest Young Boys: Report

janice Joplin jimi hendrix jerry garcia

The axis of evil? (photo of Haight Street mural by Tony the Misfit)

I wish that headline was in any way hyperbolic. And this comes out of a five-year study, not a quick answer to deflect criticism. This is the formal opinion of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.

A five-year study commissioned by the nation’s Roman Catholic bishops to provide a definitive answer to what caused the church’s sexual abuse crisis has concluded that neither the all-male celibate priesthood nor homosexuality were to blame.

Instead, the report 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.

Known occurrences of sexual abuse of minors by priests rose sharply during those decades, the report found, and the problem grew worse when the church’s hierarchy responded by showing more care for the perpetrators than the victims.

The “blame Woodstock” explanation has been floated by bishops since the church was engulfed by scandal in the United States in 2002 and by Pope Benedict XVI after it erupted in Europe in 2010.

I missed the part of the Summer of Love dedicated to pedophilia. Maybe that didn’t make the director’s cut of Woodstock.

I don’t even want to grant this theory the credit of allowing it to be hypothetically true. But for a moment, I’ll do that to say this: so you mean to tell me that priests were made of such weak moral fibers that because they saw hippies on television and in their neighborhoods, they were compelled to rape altar boys? And that the blame for that rests with the hippies? And that this is the opinion of the group that is leaned upon for moral guidance by millions of people? Indeed, the argument goes that without the backbone of religion, there is only chaos in the moral universe? That’s whose representatives said this?

Here are some other gems from the report:

In one of the most counterintuitive findings, the report says that fewer than 5 percent of the abusive priests exhibited behavior consistent with pedophilia, which it defines as a “psychiatric disorder that is characterized by recurrent fantasies, urges and behaviors about prepubescent children.

“Thus, it is inaccurate to refer to abusers as ‘pedophile priests,’ ” the report says.

That finding is likely to prove controversial, in part because the report employs a definition of “prepubescent” children as those age 10 and under. Using this cutoff, the report found that only 22 percent of the priests’ victims were prepubescent.

See, you’re a full-fledged man at 10 years old, more than capable of making your own sexual decisions. That’s why the Catholic church will marry your 10 year-old without any moral compunctions whatsoever.

The bishops paid $1.8 million to conduct this study. They could have just got Joe Klein or someone to tell them to blame the hippies for quite a bit less.

CommunityThe Bullpen

Jimi Hendrix and Haight Street in San Francisco Caused Priests to Molest Young Boys: Report

I wish that headline was in any way hyperbolic. And this comes out of a five-year study, not a quick answer to deflect criticism. This is the formal opinion of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.

A five-year study commissioned by the nation’s Roman Catholic bishops to provide a definitive answer to what caused the church’s sexual abuse crisis has concluded that neither the all-male celibate priesthood nor homosexuality were to blame.

Instead, the report 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.

Known occurrences of sexual abuse of minors by priests rose sharply during those decades, the report found, and the problem grew worse when the church’s hierarchy responded by showing more care for the perpetrators than the victims.

The “blame Woodstock” explanation has been floated by bishops since the church was engulfed by scandal in the United States in 2002 and by Pope Benedict XVI after it erupted in Europe in 2010.

I missed the part of the Summer of Love dedicated to pedophilia. Maybe that didn’t make the director’s cut of Woodstock.

I don’t even want to grant this theory the credit of allowing it to be hypothetically true. But for a moment, I’ll do that to say this: so you mean to tell me that priests were made of such weak moral fibers that because they saw hippies on television and in their neighborhoods, they were compelled to rape altar boys? And that the blame for that rests with the hippies? And that this is the opinion of the group that is leaned upon for moral guidance by millions of people? Indeed, the argument goes that without the backbone of religion, there is only chaos in the moral universe? That’s whose representatives said this?

Here are some other gems from the report:

In one of the most counterintuitive findings, the report says that fewer than 5 percent of the abusive priests exhibited behavior consistent with pedophilia, which it defines as a “psychiatric disorder that is characterized by recurrent fantasies, urges and behaviors about prepubescent children.

“Thus, it is inaccurate to refer to abusers as ‘pedophile priests,’ ” the report says.

That finding is likely to prove controversial, in part because the report employs a definition of “prepubescent” children as those age 10 and under. Using this cutoff, the report found that only 22 percent of the priests’ victims were prepubescent.

See, you’re a full-fledged man at 10 years old, more than capable of making your own sexual decisions. That’s why the Catholic church will marry your 10 year-old without any moral compunctions whatsoever.

The bishops paid $1.8 million to conduct this study. They could have just got Joe Klein or someone to tell them to blame the hippies for quite a bit less.

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David Dayen

David Dayen