A. W. Richard Sipe, a clinical mental health counselor who earlier spent 18 years as a Benedictine monk and priest, has been a long time critic of the way our church has handled the sex abuse scandal. His credentials for knowledge of the subject are solid. He has spend some 25 years studying the celibate/sexual behavior of the clergy population and is considered one of the leading experts in the field.
An ocassional contributor to NCR, I take his opinions seriously, as do many others who have followed this tragic story. So his views on the John Jay report, released yesterday, should be considered as significant. In an email I received from him, this is what he writes:
This is an important study because it outlines the geography of the Catholic Church’s problems with human sexuality as they impact its clergy. It shows how the church wants to be perceived: A preponderance of the data comes from church records.
- It points to the areas about the priesthood that still need exploration.