Sunday, March 13, 2011

Imagine this Headline in a National Newspaper: Sexual Assault Case in Dallas!

It's all too common to check out the latest news and hear something about sexual abuse in the Catholic Church among the clergy. Out of curiosity, I wanted to see how the coverage compares to a city of a comparable size as the number of priests.

The latest estimate is there are about 408,000 priests in the world.

To find a comparable American city, I must find one with about 408,000 men.

I will be extra generous though. Statistics do not usually break down the population by each age, but over 18 and below 18. I will only include 18+, even though few priests are younger than 25. Also, only half the population will be men. So what city matches this?

A good American city that matches the number of men in the Catholic priesthood is Dallas, Texas, the 8th largest city in the states, with a population of 1.2 million. 73.6% of the population is over 18 and 51.4% are male, bringing the total to about 453,000 men.

Now, can you imagine hearing a story across the country of sexual assault in Dallas? How about in another country in the globe? Of course not. Would you possibly hear about cases that occurred 30, 40, even 50 years ago? Again, no.

In the United States each year there are approximately 234,000 cases of sexual assault against people 12 years or older. Over the decades, this could be in the millions. Yet, no one would paint the entire country with the same brush. Not even a city such as Dallas.

Nearly every new case of sexual assault allegedly committed by a priest anywhere in the world is headline news. Maybe it's time for more balance.

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