Mon, 20 Aug 2018
I hope and expect this will be my last post on this loathsome subject.
Diocesan vs. religious priests
In the previous article, I said:
Later I added a guess about why:
I think this is probably correct. The list of Pittsburgh priests has a section at the bottom headed “Religious Priests Serving in the Diocese”, but it is empty.
Kennedy's Catholic Directory
While attempting to get better estimates for the total number of active priests, I located part of The Official Catholic Directory of P.J. Kennedy & Sons for the year 1980, available on the Internet Archive. It appears that this is only one volume of many, and unfortunately IA does not seem to have the others. Luckily, though, this happens to be the volume that includes information for Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Scranton. It reports:
I have no idea how authoritative this is, or what is the precise meaning of “official” in the title. The front matter would probably explain, but it does not appear in the one volume I have. The cover also advises “Important: see explanatory notes, pp. vi–viii”, which I have not seen.
The Directory also includes information for the Ukrainian Catholic Archepathy of Philadelphia, which, being part of a separate (but still Catholic) church is separate from the Philadelphia Roman Catholic dioceses. (It reports 127 total priests.) It's not clear whether to absorb this into my estimate because I'm not sure if it was part of the total number I got from the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference.
But I am not going back to check because I feel there is no point in trying to push on in this way. An authoritative and accurate answer is available from the official census, and my next step, should I care to take one, should be to go to the library and look at it, rather than continuing to pile up inaccurate guesses based on incomplete information.
Sipe's earlier estimate
Jonathan Segal points out that A.W. Richard Sipe, a famous expert on clergy sexual abuse, had estimated in 1990 that about 6% of U.S. priests has sexually abused children. This is close to my own estimate of 6.1% for the six Pennsylvania dioceses. Most of this agreement should be ascribed to luck.
In 1992, Sinéad O'Connor became infamous for protesting systematic Catholic sex abuse by tearing up a photograph of John Paul II on live American television. She was almost universally condemned. (The Wikipedia article has a few of the details.)
This week, America: The Jesuit Review, which claims to be “the leading Catholic journal of opinion in the United States”, reported:
A lot of people owe Sinéad O'Connor a humble apology.
[ Update 20230726: Sinéad O'Connor has died, probably without having received an apology from most of those people. ]