National Statement — John Jay Report on Causes of Clergy Sexual Abuse Underscores Voice of the Faithful Views

NEWTON, Mass., May 18, 2011 – A study released May 18 reports several contributing factors to the clergy child sexual abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church that Voice of the Faithful, the worldwide Church reform group, has long noted.

The study, “The Causes and Context of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests in the United States, 1950-2010,” is the final segment of the so-called John Jay report that was commissioned by U.S. bishops in 2002 to study the abuse scandal in the American Church. Different aspects of the research have been released at intervals since 2002.

The latest “causes and context” study, according to media reports, highlights several factors in the abuse scandal that have long been cited by VOTF, including:

  • The culture of clericalism, which fosters secrecy and places clergy and the hierarchy apart and above the laity, contributes to the climate for abuse and, more importantly, is prolonging a resolution to the scandal.
  • The response to the abuse scandal by bishops who allowed priests credibly accused of abuse to remain in ministry is one of the principal causes of the clergy sexual abuse scandal.
  • Transparency and accountability are essential for resolving the scandal.
  • The vast majority of clergy are priests of integrity.

Current examples of the Church’s failures in handling and preventing abuse are easy to find. In Philadelphia, despite adherence to child protection policies of U.S. bishops, the archdiocese failed to remove from ministry two dozen priests credibly accused of sex abuse; three priests and a former Catholic school teacher were charged with child rape; and a monsignor responsible for clergy assignments was charged with child endangerment. Equally compelling is a case is unfolding in Ireland where the bishops’ failure, despite their promises, to cooperate with legal authorities has been exposed.

You may comment on this statement at VOTF’s Child Protection & Survivor Support Forum for Victims/Survivors, Friends, and Supporters

Voice of the Faithful
Voice of the Faithful is a worldwide movement of concerned mainstream Roman Catholics working to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse, support priests of integrity and shape structural change within the Church. More information is at

Nick Ingala, 781-559-3360, 617-291-3495 Cell