As an atheist I do focus on the religious views of the Catholic Church – they don’t make sense and it is interesting to understand how and why silly beliefs gain a foothold. The people who believe them do so because, by-in-large, their parents taught them to believe them. In that sense there is little to choose between Catholic religious bigots and those who espouse other delusional beliefs and for the same underlying reason. But for practical purposes entrusting yourself (and your children) to a church whose clergy include a significant number of sexual perverts is plain dangerous. The myths the church teaches fade into insignificance when the practical issue of child abuse is cloaked with religious lies.
The Catholic Church seems to treat the issue of abuse by its clergy as a nuisance that requires an effective containment operation. It is much more than that. The risk of involving children with Catholic priests is high – at least 1 in 20 according to the report cited and more plausibly 1 in 15. The figures moreover, despite claims to the contrary, seem high in Australia relative to US experience.
The obvious imperative is to be critical of those who espouse delusional beliefs. And if there is a 5 to 7 per cent chance that such people are pedophiles then clearly don’t allow your children to be alone with any of them. This is not anti-religious rationalism although that is indeed my position. It is just commonsense. (1030)