A few of my thoughts:
- Other denominations are experiencing a "vocations" shortage, and in many cases worse shortages than the Roman Catholic Church. The Episcopalians are an example and they allow every type of person to live non-celibate "priesthoods". Women, married women, men, married men, homosexuals, and openly sexually active homosexuals. "Vocations" shortage just the same.
- Other religious denominations are hurt by abuse scandals as well, they're just not reported on as heavily as those in the Catholic Church. This is not to diminish the outrage that the abuse scandal has been, and the damage it has done to the Roman Catholic Church as well as the dignity of the priesthood in the eyes of many. It is to say that celibacy had nothing to do with it. A lack of faithfulness had everything to do with it.
- In regards to sexual misconduct and abuse specifically, the single largest group of pedophiles in the world, by a long shot, are married, or formerly married, men ("more than 70 percent of the males who molest children report themselves as heterosexual, and most are, or have been, married. "). The media simply ignores the plague that is sexual abuse in America. Best estimates are that between 50% and 66% of all adult women have been sexually molested or abused in some way, at some point in their life, with the overwhelming majority of those at the hands of men that supposedly loved them. Of those men, virtually ALL OF THEM are NOT "CELIBATE.
- In education the numbers are terrible, and again none of the perpetrators are vowed celibates: From a CNS Story: A national survey of 2,064 students in 2000 showed that 9.6 percent of public school students from kindergarten through 11th grade reported unwanted sexual harassment or abuse by public school employees, mostly educators, said Shakeshaft, professor of educational policies at Hofstra University in Huntington, N.Y. The survey, done by the American Association of University Women, listed educators as responsible for 57 percent of the abuse with the rest done by other employees such as bus drivers and teachers' aides. Regarding victims, 56 percent of the reported abuses were against girls. Regarding offenders, students reported that 57 percent were males. If the survey were projected over the entire public school system, it would mean that 4.5 million students are subject to sexual abuse or harassment by [non-celibate] school employees, said Shakeshaft. Shakeshaft said a 1994 study she did on disciplinary action against 225 public school teachers who admitted sexually abusing children in New York state showed a lax policy. Only 15 percent were terminated and 25 percent received no disciplinary consequences, she said. Of the rest, 39 percent left the school district, many with a positive recommendation to teach elsewhere, and the rest were informally reprimanded, she said. Experts studying child sex abuse often refer to the sending of child-abusing teachers to other school districts as "passing the trash."
- More on the subject of sexual misconduct in US Schools: AP: Sexual Misconduct Plagues US Schools Hat tip to the Curt Jester for finding this article, and inciting me to make this post. In his usual comic sarcasm his post is entitled: "I had no idea that ...
... so many teachers must have taken a vow of celibacy."