A Penn State historian, Philip Jenkins, has done an in depth research of pedophilia and sexual abuse among the clergy and has come up with some rather eye opening facts.  It seems that while 1.7 percent of Catholic clergy have been guilty of pedophilia (or sexual abuse particularly of boys), a whopping TEN percent of Protestant ministers have been found guilty of pedophilia!

This is all the more interesting, notes Jenkins, since there has been NO media term "Pastor Pedophilia" coined at all!

Jenkins theorizes that the media, proving the 'point' of the 'necessity' of sexual promiscuity, overemphasizes any instance of pedophilia found among the Catholic clergy since it can use this to criticize the entire idea of celibacy.  But it is interesting that the NON Celibate Protestant ministers have a MUCH GREATER problem with it than the celibate Catholic priests!

Protestant pastor pedophilia is not within the frame of our 'social constructionists' as Jenkins calls the media:  

 "In the 1980's, [Pastor] Leyva had abused perhaps one hundred boys in several Southern states, but few of us ever learned of it.  Leyva had the distinction of being a Pentecostal minister and was, therefore, not within the 'frame' of those who were busy constructing reality.  The same is true of the three brothers, all Baptist ministers, who were charged with child molestation in the 1990's; the public learned little about this highly unusual series of cases because it was not deemed worthy of dissemination by those fixated on Catholic scandals." [1]

 "Once the media elites focused their attention on framing the issue in terms of the 'celibacy' problem, it became difficult for them to assert that the problem was larger among the non-celibate Protestant clergy." [2]  

Jenkins' research was based on several highly respected studies and statistics.  He points out that whereas sexual misconduct has always been a problem, among Catholic and non Catholic clergy as well as among the general populace, what is new now is that the 'problem' of priest sexual abuse, constructed by the media as a result of a 'moral panic' occurring in the mid 1980's.

Sue Widemark


1. Donahue, William A "A review of Philip Jenkins' PEDOPHILES AND PRIESTS, "Catalyst", Vol 23, no. 4 (May 1996) (published by the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, email:

2. ibid

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