In the wake of the R.C. Archdiocese of Los Angeles’ 660 million dollar abuse claim settlement the Vatican has issued a statement “reminding” the public that sexual abuse is not just a problem with the Catholic Church.
Pedophilia is a scourge that does not restrict itself to any particular religious faith. I have represented victims of clergy sexual abuse by Catholic’s, Anglican’s, and Baptist’s, as well as person’s in a position of authority that had nothing to do with religion.
That being said, the institutional heirarchy of the Roman Catholic Church, and it’s demand for total obediance to Priest, Bishop, Pope, does appear to create the kind of “power relationship” that pedophiles use to manipulate their victims.
See for example the comments of the Supreme Court of Canada in the Doe vs. Bennett case.
The relationship between the bishop and a priest in a diocese is not only spiritual, but temporal.
First, the bishop provided Bennett with the opportunity to abuse his power.
Second, Bennett’s wrongful acts were strongly related to the psychological intimacy inherent in his role as priest.
Third, the bishop conferred an enormous degree of power on Bennett relative to his victims.
Read the entire decision here.