Monday, December 21, 2015

Crime and Immorality in the Catholic Church

Written by a well-known former Franciscan priest, the stories in Crime and Immorality in the Catholic Church, about what some priests were doing in the 1950s could come from today's front pages. But the focus is not so much on the priesthood, as on the parishioners.

To investigate his theory that the Catholic religion promotes criminal behavior rather than preventing it, McLoughlin conducted a survey of all the prisons in the country in 1960. In every state, the percentage of Catholic inmates was greater than the state's percentage of Catholics in the population, even using the church's inflated figures. Then he did a similar survey of institutionalized mental patients, exploring the theory that Catholic beliefs drive people crazy, and came up with the same results. This was not the most scientific research, but no one else was doing anything better.

He argued that crime and poverty are worse in countries with a long history of Catholic control of religious institutions.

In this and other books, McLoughlin criticized how priests were trained, and how Catholic children were trained, especially those who attend parochial schools. If the Church today is somewhat more enlightened, perhaps he should be given some of the credit.

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