The Catholic Church’s Victims

When you search up “What church has the most sexual abuse cases in the US,” the Catholic Church comes up. This isn’t being written to shame the Catholic Church itself, but to shine a light on the situation as a whole and talk about this shameful truth.

How and Why the Catholic Church?

Sexual abuse is most certainly not limited to the Catholic Church, but they do stand out. Why? According to the article “Why So Much Abuse in the Catholic Church?” published on the website Top Class Actions, which connects people to lawyers, “In December, Pope Francis finally declared the church would stop hiding sexual abuse allegations against priests, ending the rule of a 2001 decree that allowed sexual abuse allegations to be considered a ‘pontifical secret,’ the Catholic Church’s most protected information.”

Not only does this mean they were covering up their allegations, but it also allowed their priests to continue this behavior. At that point, the priests knew that they would be safe no matter what they did. Labeling sexual abuse as a “pontifical secret” opened a door of opportunities for the creeps hiding behind their cassocks.

Why You Should Care

Talking about any type of abuse is hard for most people, so when someone decides that they’re ready enough to share, you listen. These child victims are tormented by this abuse for years on end, and they’re too afraid to tell anyone. They’re scared that no one will believe them or that they’ll get shamed instead. One Miami High female who has a connection to this sexual abuse said, “I think this is an important topic, especially for the more youthful because there has been a spike in sexual harassment and abuse.”

The Numbers

According to the article “The global scale of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church” published by Aljazeera, in the US, lawyers have received over 11,000 complaints about priests’ sexual abuse. However, most of these cases ended in a payout. Instead of facing the consequences, the Catholic Church just paid off every case they could. Meanwhile, in France, there have been about 216,000 victims of sexual abuse by the Catholic Church in the span of 70 years.

The Victims

A church is a place that you’re supposed to feel safe in. After something as traumatic as sexual abuse occurs, you won’t be able to feel the same comfort you did before. The anonymous Miami High female said, “I have had personal experience and so has my family, which I do not wish to get into detail with, but it really does affect a person physically and mentally.” She also said that mentally she always has to be looking out for people’s body language, how close they get, and it gets so bad for her that she “sometimes cannot handle physical touch by the people closest to me.”

In a lot of cases, some of the victims struggle to maintain their belief in their religion. They question if God is real, or if he’s even there for them. She said, “Everyone says that God does things for a reason, and I do believe this to an extent, but why would someone that you rely on let something so disgusting happen, something so traumatizing, especially in a sacred place?”

The victims here are children. Children who can’t speak up for themselves. These little kids are confused as to what’s happening to them and most of the time, they’re manipulated into thinking it’s normal. These priests use their high position to their advantage. The victims won’t know that what’s happened to them is wrong until years later, and at that point, all they feel is hopelessness. Hopelessness because so many years have passed, and they think it’s too late to do anything about it.

Is There a Solution?

After all these child sexual abuse cases, why not have the Catholic Church leave the youth ministry business altogether? According to the article “There is an obvious way for the Catholic Church to reduce child sex abuse, but bishops refuse to do it” published by The Washington Post, Catholic summer camps and retreats provided these priests with dozens of vulnerable children.

In addition, the Catholic Church needs to stop protecting the abusers. Abusive priests should be getting punished, put in prison, and never allowed around another kid again. The Catholic Church needs to own up to this and never let these abusers into another church again, especially as a priest.


“Everyone says that God does things for a reason, and I do believe this to an extent, but why would someone that you rely on let something so disgusting happen, something so traumatizing, especially in a sacred place.”

  • Anonymous Miami High Female