Celibacy amongst Australian Catholic Church clergy and priests could be responsible for a decades-long epidemic of child sex abuse, a new report from church leaders has found.
The report, issued by the church’s Truth, Justice and Healing Council, acknowledges “obligatory celibacy may … have contributed to abuse in some circumstances”.
It also suggests the “obedience and closed environments” of the church could have had a role in the prevalence of abuse in some religious orders and dioceses.
The report calls for “ongoing training and development, including psycho-sexual development” for priests
The report, known as the Activity report, was released to assess the church’s reform agenda in response to the ongoing Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sex Abuse.
The claims provide a stark contrast to comments made by Brother Julian McDonald, the deputy head of the Christian Brothers Oceania province, at the Royal Commission earlier this year.
“There is no strong evidence to suggest that celibacy is the cause of offending against children or a strong contributing factor,” Brother McDonald said in May.