<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="65001"%> Sexual Abuse -- Spawn of the Vatican's Lust for Power ARCC
ARCC Banner
Home Join ARCC Donate Facebook Table of Contents
DHTML JavaScript Menu By Milonic.com

Who we are

What we do

Contact us


 Sexual Abuse -- Spawn of the Vatican's Lust for Power
The Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church seeks to unmask and dismantle the structures of unjust dominance wherever they exist. Consequently, we deplore and condemn any and all cases of sexual attacks by priests, whether the victims are women, men, or minors. 

We realize that on the surface these acts appear to be caused by enforced celibacy. However, among the laity there is no evidence that being married or having opportunities to engage in consensual sex keeps would-be rapists or child molesters from assaulting their victims. Pedophiles suffer from a serious psychosexual mental disorder; in the general population most are married heterosexuals. Rapists are not primarily motivated by a quest for sexual gratification. Rape is a crime of violence in which sexuality is used as the weapon of choice. Rapists view their victims as objects whom they want to degrade in order to gain power over them. We define rape as non-consensual sexual relations involving physical or psychological force.

Of course, there are also cases of mutual love and consensual sex involving priests and their partners. In those cases, the rule of celibacy may keep the couple from getting married. It may also be their motivation to resort to abortion. These cases must be considered separately from sexual assaults. Individuals involved in such cases -- especially if the woman is a religious -- are indeed victims of enforced celibacy and clericalism.

While we do not agree that celibacy directly causes sexual assaults, we believe that enforced celibacy is itself a sexual assault on the priests who are its victims and that consequently it contributes to the vicious cycle of the abused turning into abusers. By claiming authority over the most intimate aspects of a priest's manhood, church leaders (who are themselves products of the same deforming formation process) keep him on a leash in a subordinate and semi-infantile role. The relatively powerless tend to compensate by further subjecting those over whom they have control. Hence enforced celibacy – in contrast to freely chosen celibacy – contributes to a tendency within the church to discourage all members, clerical and lay, from turning into independent thinkers and responsible adults. 

Finally, and most importantly, we believe that the Catholic Church suffers from one cardinal sin that is the systemic cause of such diverse pathological symptoms as demanding loyalty oaths from pastors, forbidding the ordination of women, promoting oppressive bishops, and covering up the crimes of priests in order to avoid giving scandal to the poor, simple faithful. This primal flaw is the ancient sin of the arrogant lust for power legitimized by presumed perfection. Ultimately, the institution bases its authority on power rather than service, on demands for unquestioning obedience rather than love. Since the institutional church is in the hands of human beings and human beings are flawed, deceit is justified in terms of Machiavellian utility. The illusion of perfection must be maintained at any cost. Thus clerical rapists and pedophiles tend to be rewarded by being transferred and at times even promoted, while their victims are blamed and often find themselves disgraced, forced to abort, and sworn to silence. After all, women have been held responsible for seducing men since Adam succumbed to Eve. In addition, the natural tendency toward secretive behavior of sexual predators and their victims is reinforced by the policy of church officials to shield priests while blaming their victims. 

By continuing our efforts to democratize the church and empower all the People of God, ARCC is determined to confront and expose this unholy marriage of arrogance and sanctimonious deceit.

30 March 2001

Link to related ARCC Press Release

Other voices

Another Voice

Questions From a Ewe

Challenges Facing Catholicism
(Bishop Geoffrey Robinson in converation with Dr Ingrid Shafer)

Ingrid H. Shafer, Ph.D.
e-mail address: ihs@ionet.net
Posted 7 April 1001
Last updated 8 April 2001
Electronic version copyright © 2001 Ingrid H. Shafer
Locations of visitors to this page

Contact Information

, D.P.A., President
(406) 544-5527
Postal address
P.O. Box 6512
Helena, MT 59604-6512


Website design and maintenance:
Ingrid Shafer &
Copyright © 2003-2010,
Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church
DHTML JavaScript Menu By Milonic.com