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Abusive Religious Nuns from the 1960's and 1970's Greta Saturday, June 9, 2012


I know someone who was taught at an all-boys Catholic Elem. boarding school by Religious Nuns in the 1960's and 70's in Quebec. These Nuns screamed at the kids, used excessive and frequent corporal punishment, took the kids' possessions away from them with no explanation, and were generally mean and miserable.

I have other friends who had the same experience in regular Catholic schools in other provinces. Then there's the residential schools!

I never know how to answer people who ask how a Catholic Nun could do such things. Do you have any sort of explanation that will help me to practice apologetics and give a sound explanation for this?

Also, this same friend went to an all-boys Catholic high school where priests were the teachers, and the same sorts of things happened. The principal of the school (a religious brother) was murdered by his homosexual lover! And his parish priest had sexual relations on a regular basis with the wife of one of his parishioners! I love our Nuns and Priests, and I love the Catholic faith, but I have to admit that this is a very difficult one to answer to!! I know that these Nuns and priests are individuals, and that individuals can make bad choices and act against their vocation and against the teachings of the Catholic Church.

But I would like to know if there is any specific incident from this time period, or any information you can give me that will help me to both understand and explain it to others who have lost their faith in the Catholic Church because of these incidents.

Question Answered by

Dear Greta:

The best advice I can give you is to walk away from the anti-Catholics. It is not worth the argument. Besides, St. Paul specifically admonishes that we are to avoid unproductive argumentation.

But, as far as these accusations go, yes there was some of this happening back then. But, this was no different than at most secular private and boarding schools.

Such disciplinary measures were common in those days. This has nothing whatsoever to do with the Catholic Church in particular.

As to abuse, sexual or otherwise, some of that happened, but more abuse, including sexual abuse, took place in secular schools. That is no excuse for Catholic schools, but we need to consider this in perspective. Right now the Catholic sex abuse scandal is being replaced by the Public School teacher's sex abuse scandal. 

As recently reported by the Catholic League:

Today attention has turned to the public schools where sexual abuse is still rampant, as well as to elite private schools such as Horace Mann in the Bronx; the Orthodox Jewish community is currently facing dozens of cases. Still, it is old cases involving priests that garner most of the press: in Philadelphia, Lynne Abraham, the D.A. who started the grand jury hearings over a decade ago, never once investigated other religions, though she was explicitly asked to do so. Her bias is palpable.

In all of these institutions, homosexuals account for a disproportionate share of the abuse, yet it is almost never reported. 

As for Catholic Priests, most were homosexuals molesting teenagers (which is not pedophilia, but rather Hebephilia). Between 1950 - 2002, 4,392 priests were accused which amounts to approximately 4% of the 109,694 priests in active ministry during that time. (this is priests who were accused, not that were guilty).

The allegations were substantiated for 1,872 priests and unsubstantiated for 824 priests. They were thought to be credible for 1,671 priests and not credible for 345 priests. (John Jay Report) Thus, the percentages are more like 1-2% of priest were guilty. 

The percentages are higher in other non-Catholic institutions. 

The highest instances of professionals molestiing children are in the mental health profession. Of the cases involving professionals 66% of the offenders are psychiatrists, psychologists, and social works (in that order). The greatest percentages of offenders against children are with family members and friends of the family. In fact, my own girls were molested by friends of my ex-wife.

The sex scandal crisis is over in the Catholic Church. "In the last three years, there has been an average of 7 new credible accusations made against over 40,000 priests," reports the Catholic League.

Bottomline is that it has always been the case that it was safer to leave one's child in care of a priest, religious, etc. than it was any other educational or orphan institution.

God Bless,
Bro. Ignatius Mary

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