This is all pretty significant in the light of recent allegations against Jimmy Saville who was covered up for by the BBC and society in general as he worked and is now found guilty by the police.
The author of the blog jobo72, Joseph Bordat, wrote a guest post at kath.net, and was predictably criticized for the statement: "99 Percent of Catholic clergy had or rather have nothing to do with sexual abuse. 99 percent of the cases of abuse do not take place in the area of the Church."
He proceeded to elaborate on it and here's a quick translation:
To start out with the suggestion "99 percent" is not here meant arithmetically, but rhetorically. So as one says: "That I have done that 1000 times!" and so one means that one has had the experience because one -- in any event-- has already had done this often.
Should the expression "99 percent" be understood arithmetically, we would have to look precisely. We'll do that.
If we assume that the perpetrator on average has multiple victims ( a scientific study of 2012 puts the relationship at close to about 1:10), and in the last 60 years in Germany there have been 1,200 sexual abuses by priests (that is the number of those, who have been paid damages from funds established by the Church; that is not an exact figure, but it is a plausible magnitude), then we're talking about 120 Catholic priests, who have been offenders in the past. Double the number of "precautionary", to take into account individual cases, then the number lays at about 240 Catholic clergy.
In the last 60years there have been at least 40,000 priests active in Germany. At the present there are approximately 15,000 times two (from which we could gather about two generations of priests in 60 years) , which gives 30,000. Actually, earlier, there were significantly more priests: 1990 there were still 20,000, in 1950 there were about 30,000. To reckon how many priests in total were active in Germany, is almost impossible. As a reference point we could also serves as "the more than 100,000 personal acts", which the KFN (Kriminelle Forschungs Institut) study plays a role, but actually it includes not only the acts of priests, but the crimes of those in pastoral services (Deacons, Parish Employees) as also in other areas of Church activity. We're arriving at this, therefore, from 40,000 priests.
Then we'd have had about 240 perpetrators from 40,000 clergy, which is a portion of 0.6 percent of "criminal priests" among all clergy.
Let's look at the part of "the Church" with the total number of abuse cases in the last 60 years. Here we leave out the established cases and refrain from accepting every "dark figure"- estimation. (because it doesn't just happen in society, but also in the Church*)
For German society there are about 18,000 established cases per year. Statistics of the last years show a small reduction in the occurrence of about 15,000 per year, but also years with about 20,000 occurrences. From the past, there is (following the trend) it is figured to be higher. In the last 60 years, there have been about 1,080,000 established abuse cases. Putting the aforementioned 1,200 estimated, ** we would have a number "in the Church" of a total number of abuses of 0.1 percent.
In so far as I may make my statement concrete: "99.4 percent of Catholic priests had respectively have had nothing to do with sexual child abuse. 99.9 percent of the cases of abuse don't take place within the confines of the Church."
I don't really want this. It seems to me that with these percentages of magnitude, to be a symbolic effect, that the horrible theme of child abuse is finally to be addressed as a social problem, and not only then, if perpetrators appear outside of the ranks of the Church.
Child abuse is "every day" in Germany. And we talk about celibacy. Now, that's the actual scandal!
* At this point it is merely to open the floodgates of speculation: one merely needs to include a higher factor x of higher dark figures for the Church than for society (there the number is from 15 to 20 times higher than the number of recognized cases), in order to include every arbitrary part "of the Church". With the discussion of "systematic concealment", the figures of such calculations are discursively prepared. On the other hand, to defend against this, there can only be the most open revelation possible of all relevant incidents.
** It would be indeed correct, not to compare the number of accusations, but the number of criminally convicted perpetrators, actually there is an "distorted view", because many cases within the Church at the time of their discovery were already out of date, which runs counter to a legal prosecution by the perpetrator. It has to fall back on "weak data", in order generally could employ a comparison.