Some readers of Child Molestation is a Common Catholic Habit took exception with the title and said that priests preying on children is an exceptional not an ordinary pastime. The Altoona-Johnstown jury would not agree with this assessment nor would the other U. S. grand juries that have been convened to examine the subject of miscreant priests.
In addition to legal inquiries the press has long exposed wayward priests so it is difficult to maintain that child molestation is not a common Catholic habit. Here are some examples.
For the Jesuits, a long road to accountability [Rev. Bradley M. Schaeffer] Boston Globe 2012
Jesuits pay record $166.1 million in child abuse case CBC News [sexual abuse of Native American children]
Suit Says Jesuits Ignored Warnings About Priest [Fr. Donald J. McGuire] NYT 2011
Wherever there are priests there are some behaving badly and according to the Altoona-Johnstown grand jury some bishops have provided cover for their subordinates' criminal acts. The evidence of their culpability is contained in the Altoona-Johnston Grand Jury Report.
The Grand Jury concludes:
The Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown was a location rampant with child molestation for decades. The widespread abuse of children was assisted by priests and bishops to whom the children looked for guidance and protection were also in an ideal position to victimize them.From the Report: Father Dan O'Neil testified in July 2015 "that it was common knowledge that Fr. Thomas Carroll was molesting children." p. 32
....the Grand Jury observed; Bishops and priests who used the cover of their authority to hide the truth from the public. The offending priests knew there was no risk of exposure because Bishop James Hogan and Bishop Joseph Adamec were covering it up. By hiding their conduct rather than exposing it, the Bishops enabled child sexual abuse. p.130
The Grand Jury notes "the culture that the Diocese created. An active priest (Father Kovach), groomed and engaged in sexual intercourse with a 16-year-old boy and never expected anyone to report it. Father Kovach was unconscionably accurate. Business as usual in the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown continued on." p.71
When testifying before the Grand Jury on November 18, 2014, Monsignor Philip Saylor testified that "under Bishop Hogan the threat to children within the diocese was so well known and institutionalized that there was both open discussion and procedure for the occurrence." p.75
There is evidence that two priests, Father Martin McCamley and Father James Bunn, sexually abused the same child.
Sexual Abuse Compensation Plan
Bishop Joseph Adamec created a compensation fund to pay victims for their sexual attacks. The church would pay $10,000-$25,000 for genital fondling outside of clothing, $15,000-$40,000 for fondling under clothes and masturbation, $25,000-$75,000 for oral sex and $50,000-$175,000 for sodomy.
Minimum/maximum payout amounts were affected by the number of times a child was molested, how long the abuse occurred, the age of child and whether the priest drugged the child with medication and or alcohol. To secure secrecy the church required the victims to sign confidentiality agreements and liability waivers. p. 120
Ii is not known whether sexual abuse compensation plans were standard operating procedure in other
Those reading international news reports would also be of the opinion that child molestation is a prevalent Catholic practice. Common does not mean that every priest is engaged in aberrant behavior but it does indicate that Catholic pastors have an unholy fetish of global proportions. Here are some examples— The '09 Ryan Commission established by the Irish government found that:
Sexual abuse was endemic in Catholic boys’ institutions. The schools investigated revealed a substantial level of sexual abuse of boys in care that extended over a range from improper touching and fondling to rape with violence. Perpetrators of abuse were able to operate undetected for long periods at the core of institutions. When confronted with evidence of sexual abuse, the response of the religious authorities was to transfer the offender to another location where, in many instances, he was free to abuse again. The safety of children in general was not a consideration. The situation in girls’ institutions was different. Although girls were subjected to predatory sexual abuse by male employees or visitors or in outside placements, sexual abuse was not systemic in girls’ schools
German Priests Carried Out Sexual Abuse for Years NYT 2013
Significant cases of sex abuse were exposed within Australia Archdioceses by the Royal Commission.
Top Vatican cardinal grilled about ‘absolutely scandalous’ sex abuse by priests that rocked Australia The Washington Post 2016
El Salvador Church suspends Father Delgado over sexual abuse BBC News 2015
Every time the media broadcasts child abuse the pope and his sycophants promise to do better but these are vacuous words. Women are the victims best defenders but they are denied authority and until they are elevated and are on par with men children will remain Catholic pawns. It is true and shameful that children are abused by parents and in almost every venue but the Catholic Church has a moral obligation to be better than the others.
For interested parties BishopAccountability.org provides a state by state database of publicly accused U.S. priests.