Inadequate screening of potential priests, not celibacy or homosexuality, is to blame for the clergy sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church, according to a blue-ribbon panel formed by the nation’s Catholic bishops. The findings of the 12-member National Review Board were released late last month along with the first-ever report on the scope of sexual abuse of minors in the church.
“Dioceses and [religious] orders simply did not screen candidates for the priesthood properly,” said Bob Bennett, the Washington attorney and board member who spearheaded the report. “As a result, many dysfunctional and psychosexually immature men were admitted into seminaries and ordained in the priesthood.”
Bennett said celibacy has become an “albatross” for some priests and needs further discussion—something church leaders have resisted.