January 25, 2004
January 4, 2004
Children aware, parents say
By Michael Paulson, Globe Staff, 2/10/2002
ost local Catholic parents polled said they have discussed the issue of clergy sexual abuse with their children, but that the pedophilia scandal will not affect their willingness to allow their children to participate in church life.
Forty percent of the parents said that what they have learned about the sexual abuse of children by priests has caused them to inform their children, and another 18 percent said they already knew of the risk of clergy sexual abuse and had discussed it with their children. Another 36 percent of local parents said they have not discussed the issue with their children, according to a Boston Globe/WBZ-TV poll.
Just over one-quarter of Catholic parents polled -- 28 percent -- said what they have learned about the sexual abuse of children by priests has caused them concern about sending their children to church alone, but 60 percent of Catholic parents said they do not share that concern.
Parents are slightly more concerned when it comes to the question of allowing their children to become altar servers -- 34 percent of parents said what they have learned about clergy sexual abuse has made them reluctant to see their children take on that role, while 56 percent said it has not.
Perhaps most discouraging for a church suffering from a declining number of vocations: 61 percent of Catholic parents said they would not be likely to encourage their children to become priests or nuns. Just 9 percent of Catholic parents said they would be very likely to encourage their children to pursue such vocations, and 13 percent said they would be somewhat likely to do so.
This story ran on page B4 of the Boston Globe on 2/10/2002.