Statement on priesthood, sexual orientation and abuse

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To the best of my knowledge, there is no empirical data which concludes that sexual orientation is connected to child sexual abuse.

The consensus among researchers is that the sexual abuse of children is not a question of sexual ‘orientation’, whether heterosexual or homosexual, but of a disordered attraction or ‘fixation’.

Many abusers of children have never developed the capacity for mature adult relationships. Instead, their sexual attractions focus on children – boys, girls, or both.

In the sexual abuse of children the issue is the sexual fixation of the abusers and not their sexual orientation.

The Catholic Bishops of England and Wales have adopted policies which ensure that all candidates for the priesthood undergo a thorough psychological screening.

All candidates for the priesthood and diaconate are required to demonstrate the capacity for mature relationships and a fully integrated sexuality appropriate to their celibate or married way of life.

Rev Fr Marcus Stock
General Secretary
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales