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Boston Cardinal Bernard F. Law

Booklet open, bottom flap folded in, top flap unfolded

This trick lithograph/linoleum block print appropriates a popular woodcut form used to produce polemical prints in reformation Nuremberg during the first half of the sixteenth century (see source images on display).

During 2002, the child sexual abuse scandal was raging through the Catholic Church. In 2002, the nation’s bishops, accused of covering up the sins of their priests, commissioned a study by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice to explore the problem. The report, “The Nature and Scope of the Problem of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests and Deacons in the United States”, was released in 2004. The total number of priests with allegations of abuse during the years of the study 1950-2002 is 4,392. A total of 10,667 individuals made allegations of child sexual abuse by priests. Of those who alleged abuse, 17.2% had siblings who were also allegedly abused.

The majority of priests (56%) were alleged to have abused one victim, 27% were alleged to have abused two or three victims, 14% were alleged to have abused four to nine victims and 3.4% were alleged to have abused more than ten victims. The 149 priests (3.4%) who had more than ten allegations were allegedly responsible for abusing 2,960 victims, 26% of allegations.

The largest group of alleged victims (50.9%) was between the ages of 11 and 14, 27.3% were 15-17, 16% were 8-10 and nearly 6% were under age 7. Overall, 81% of the victims were male. The most frequently acts allegedly committed by priests were: touching under the victim’s clothes (57.5%), touching over clothing (56.8%), victim disrobed (27.5%), cleric performing oral sex (27.3%) and penile penetration or attempted penetration (25.1%).

Many of the abuses were alleged to have committed multiple types of abuse against individual victims.

Although limited information on the priests own childhood victimization and substance and/or abuse problems was limited, nearly 7% of priests had been physically, sexually and/or emotionally abuse as children. Nearly 19% had alcohol or substance abuse problems. In over 80% of cases involving substance abuse, church authorities undertook some sort of intervention. Nearly 40% of priests with allegations of sexual abuse participated in treatment programs. 1

Survivors of childhood abuse have been well studied in the medical literature. It has been well established that abuse survivors have a high incidence and prevalence of survivor characteristics of revictimization, sexual compulsivity, chronic depression and alcohol and other drug abuse. Depression is the symptom most commonly reported among adults molested as children. Victims of abuse are often revictimized later in life. Adult survivors commonly report inability to relax and receive pleasure from sexual activity, avoidance of sex, or a compulsive desire for sex. Researchers have reported that between 17% and 27% of adult survivors had abused alcohol or other drugs. Each of these survivor characteristics parallel the behaviors most commonly associated with HIV transmission (unprotected sexual intercourse and intravenous needle sharing in drug usage). The connection between histories of childhood abuse and HIV has now been well studied in the medical literature. 2

The whole history of sexology is intimately linked to the history of sexual abuse. The paraphilias are specialized sexual fantasies and intense sexual urges or behaviors that are recurrent and sexually arousing. The paraphilias are usually repetitive and distressing to those undergoing them. The paraphilias are intimacy disorders and are classified in the American Psychiatric Association Diagnostic and Statistical manual IV (DSM-IV). Pedophilia (sexual urges by a person at least 16 years old and at least 5 years older than the victims toward or sexual arousal by children 13 years of age or younger) is most common. Ten to 20% of all children have been molested by age 18.3.

Many priest abusers are not pedophiles but rather fall into the category of ephebophiles, adults whose sexual drives are directed toward post-pubescent.


Booklet open, bottom flap unfolded, top flap folded in

Booklet completely open, from front
L-R: Ronald Paquin, Joseph Birmingham, John Geoghan Background Paul Shanley

Booklet completely closed, from back

Booklet completely open, from back

Unholy Communion
Folded Broadside
When closed, two 4½” x 6" leaflets form a 9" x 6" lithograph/linoleum block print front image.
When the leaflets are opened, an 18" x 6" lithograph interior image is displayed.
cardinal bernard
Cardinal Bernard F. Law
john geoghan
John Geoghan
Source Image: The Friar
Anonymous trick woodcut Circa 1550


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