According to the Roman Catholic Church in the US, there were over 800 claims of sexual abuse of parishioners by clergy submitted in 2008. This number represents a 16% increase over the 2007 level. In 2008, the Catholic Church paid out US $436 million (C $555 million) to settle the claims. Most of these funds went towards compensating victims.
Approximately a fifth of the victims were children under ten years of age when the abuse occurred.
According to Francis Cardinal George, the Catholic Archbishop of Chicago, the Church was "on the right path" in its aim to ensure the protection of "all children in society" (BBC).
This is obviously a serious problem. It's not my place to tell the Church how to overcome its own shortcomings, but perhaps this calls for a married clergy.
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