Australian Probe of Child Sex Abuse: Catholic Church Should Drop Celibacy Demand

An Australian government investigation of child sexual abuse released Friday concluded that there have been “catastrophic failures of leadership” in the Catholic Church and recommended the church drop its demand for celibacy from clergy. “We conclude that there is an elevated risk of child sex abuse where compulsorily celibate male clergy or religious have privileged access to children in certain types of Catholic institutions, including schools, residential institutions, and parishes,” read the report. The commission’s other major recommendation was to criminalize the failure to report child sexual abuse. “The law should exclude any existing excuse or privilege relating to a religious confessional,” the AP reported of the panel’s recommendations.