There has been a debate on the causes of clerical child abuse is a major aspect of the academic literature surrounding Catholic sex abuse cases. However, I wonder what is the history of child abuse in the Catholic Church.
Some Catholics, such as correspondent John Daniel Davidson, have claimed that the sexual revolution and a rise in moral relativism contributed to the problem of child abuse.
Others have argued that child abuse in the Catholic church predates these changes. A report done as part of the Australian government's Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse found that "the most notorious cases of sexual abuse in the Australian church occurred in institutional settings in the 1940s–60s by men (and sometimes women) who were thoroughly trained in the strict morality and rigorous piety of the pre-Vatican II church," noting that "the ranks of abusers cuts right across the lines of conservatives and liberals, with both sides having their fair share of abusive clergy."
Philip Jenkins claims that the Roman Catholic Church is being unfairly singled out by secular media which he claims fails to highlight similar sexual accusations in other religious groups, such as the Anglican Communion, Islam and Judaism, and various Protestant church communities. Jenkins later authored the book The New Anti-Catholicism: The Last Acceptable Prejudice in 2003, touching on some of the same issues. Other organisations which have seen comparable large-scale sexual abuse scandals include the Boy Scouts of America and the Jehovah's Witnesses.
Writing in The Washington Post in 2010, David Gibson calls the idea of an anti-Catholic media bias a "myth", saying "The annual survey of religion in the news conducted by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life showed that in 2008 ─ the year Benedict traveled to Washington and New York ─ coverage of the pope and of the Catholic Church accounted for more than half of all news stories about religion, and the majority were positive or explanatory."