The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

The sex abuse crisis strikes Italy

The AP has been doing a little digging into clerical sex abuse in one of the world’s most staunchly Catholic countries, and came up with some numbers:

For decades, a culture of silence has surrounded priest abuse in Italy, where surveys show the church is considered one of the country’s most respected institutions. Now, in the Vatican’s backyard, a movement to air and root out abusive priests is slowly and fitfully taking hold.

A yearlong Associated Press tally has documented 73 cases with allegations of sexual abuse by priests against minors over the past decade in Italy, with more than 235 victims. The tally was compiled from local media reports, linked to by Web sites of victims groups and blogs. Almost all the cases have come out in the seven years since the scandal about Roman Catholic priest abuse broke in the United States.


The numbers in Italy are still a mere trickle compared to the hundreds of cases in the court systems of the United States and Ireland. And according to the AP tally, the Italian church has so far had to pay only a few hundred thousand euros (dollars) in civil damages to the victims, compared to $2.6 billion in abuse-related costs for the American diocese or euro1.1 billion ($1.5 billion) due to victims in Ireland.

However, the numbers still stand out in a country where reports of clerical sex abuse were virtually unknown a decade ago. They point to an increasing willingness among the Italian public and – slowly – within the Vatican itself to look squarely at a tragedy where the reported cases may only just be the tip of the iceberg. The Italian church will not release the numbers of cases reported or of court settlements.


The implications of priest abuse loom large in Italy: with its 50,850 priests in a nation of 60 million, Italy counts more priests than all of South America or Africa. In the United States – where the Vatican counts 44,700 priests in a nation of 300 million – more than 4,000 Catholic clergy have been accused of molesting minors since 1950.

You can read more at the link.

Comments read comments(4)
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Deacon John M. Bresnahan

posted September 13, 2009 at 7:18 pm

I have no problem with the AP helping to purify the Church by covering any priest scandals they so desire to whether here or abroad. But how about out and out murder of a pro-life activist by a pro-abort?? When an abortionist was killed the media went hyaterically bezerk with its coverage. But the murder of a disabled pro-lifer seems to have been shoved down the liberal media's well-greased Orwellian memory hole. Most news outlets have printed or reported virtually or absolutely nothing. Is the mainstream media this thoroughly corrupt????

report abuse

Deacon Greg Kandra

posted September 13, 2009 at 7:37 pm

John: Short answer? Yes. DGK

report abuse

Deacon Greg Kandra

posted September 13, 2009 at 7:41 pm

John…There's an interesting analysis of the coverage and response here. Dcn. G.

report abuse


posted September 14, 2009 at 12:27 am

The Pope and leadership have made great strides, but everytime they really try to do what is essential to protect the underage boys, the media goes nuts. Every responsible evaluation that has been done shows that over 80% of the abuse is from homosexual priests and in some cases bishops with boys mostly between 12-17. This is a common attraction as any search of the word homosexual and twinks. From everything they now know about this attraction, it cannot be cured which is clearly shown as the bishops first tried to follow advice from doctors who thought it could be cured and the priest return to serve. the Catholic Church got burned on this big time. So the Pope tries to weed out those with homosexula tendencies and gets hammered. How can you say you care about kids, but then ignore the fact that 80% of the abuse would have not happened? Even one case is dispicable and should be reported and the priest defrocked and prosecuted. However, if it is bad because it is a minor, shouldn't we also be going after all adults who approach kids in any way for sex and enforce it rigidly with 30 year jail sentences since we know they cannot be stopped. I hate it because my little brother was abused not by a priest, but by a teacher. Want to guess how many teachers abuse kids? Wonder why the boy scouts fights having homosexuals as leaders? But it is not politically correct to identify a common problem within the homosexual community just as we had a public health crisis with AIDS but could not say that it was massively a homosexual problem. There is a reason the Catholic Church identifies homosexual acts as gravely disordered and as such, not sure why we would want to allow this with priests. Rather see the billions spent in payments going to help kids, not pay for their abuse.

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