Canadian bishops share concerns on abuse

  • April 16, 2010
CCCBOTTAWA - Following a poll indicating that 54 per cent of Canadians believe the Vatican has perpetuated a culture of silence on clerical sex abuse, Canada’s Catholic bishops issued a statement saying they share concerns about sexual abuse and continue to improve protocols to deal with the issue.

The survey, conducted by Ispos Reid, also said eight per cent of Canadians over 18 claim to personally know someone sexually assaulted by a priest. However, 37 per cent of Catholics believe Pope Benedict XVI is being unfairly targeted and 80 per cent believe the proportion of abuser priests is small.

“The results indicate there is serious concern on the part of Canadians and Catholics about the sexual abuse by members of the clergy,” said a statement from the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB). “The Catholic bishops of Canada share that concern. This is precisely why for many years Canadian bishops have been working to implement and update diocesan protocols across Canada to prevent further cases of sexual abuse.”

The CCCB said it “regrets that Ipsos-Reid did not question Catholics on their knowledge of what the Catholic bishops of Canada have done to prevent cases of sexual abuse and to respond to concerns of sexual abuse.”

The poll, however, did address whether Catholics were satisfied with the Church’s efforts to “root out predatory pedophiles.” Fifty-five per cent were not.

“A cursory reading of the results could lead one to conclude that the Catholic Church has a bigger problem with the issue of sexual abuse than any other segment of society,” said the CCCB statement. “This is incorrect. Experts say that there is no data to support such a claim at all.

“As in society in general, the bishops too continue to grow in their understanding of this terrible problem. Canadian bishops remain totally committed to a zero-tolerance policy and continue to improve their practices and protocols.”

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