August 24, 2011
During the interview, Morley Safer questioned him about the possibility that allowing priests to marry serve might reduce child sexual abuse. Without hesitation, Archbishop Dolan said "the greatest culprits in sexual abuse are, unfortunately, married men."
Due to his position and power, Archbishop Dolan either knows or should know what he is talking about. So it is reasonable to hold him responsible for what he says.
Peer-reviewed studies on child sexual abuse consistently find that children raised in intact married families are, by a significant factor, in the lowest risk group for child sexual abuse (NIS-4, p5-22).
“Children living with two married biological parents had the lowest rate of Harm Standard maltreatment at 6.8 per 1,000 children…Children living with one parent who had an unmarried partner in the household had the highest incidence of Harm Standard maltreatment (57.2 per 1,000). Their rate is more than 8 times greater than the rate for children living with two married parents.”
Children are most often sexually abused when living in cohabiting relationships with an unrelated partner, or by unrelated males. Sexual abuse is also higher when children are raised by married individuals who are not their parents.
Archbishop Dolan bore false witness against married men and weakened marriage itself. Sexual dynamics are perhaps the most powerful panic buttons in law and public policy. We need and expect the truth from leaders in politics, religion, and law because the consequences of erroneous beliefs impact millions.
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Dolan’s position mimics marriage-phobic propaganda proffered by feminists for decades. Now we have the Catholic Church talking like Gloria Steinem. How many women of faith now erroneously suspect their husbands of child sexual abuse and are looking under every rock to confirm those doubts?
As a leader of the marriage movement, I call on Archbishop Dolan to publish a letter of apology and correction, and request it be aired next week on 60 Minutes. Beyond this, I call on the leadership of the Catholic Church to move beyond pontification about the problems of marriage-absence and begin working with us restoring heterosexual marriage as the social norm.
© 2011 David Usher - All Rights Reserved
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David R. Usher is President of the Center for Marriage Policy, and a co-founder and past Secretary of the American Coalition for Fathers and Children.
Cynthia Davis is the former State Representative for Missouri’s 19th District and Executive Director of the Center for Marriage Policy