Amanda Skofstad | September 23, 2019
According to new research from the University of Notre Dame’s McGrath Institute for Church Life, 6 percent of Catholic seminarians across the country say they have experienced some form of sexual harassment, abuse or misconduct, while 90 percent report none. Another 4 percent said they might have experienced misconduct but were not sure, and 84 percent of seminarians believe their administration and faculty take reports of such misconduct very seriously.
“Sexual Harassment and Catholic Seminary Culture” is a laity-led, first-of-its-kind survey that was carried out in a collaboration between the McGrath Institute and the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA). The survey includes data from 149 seminaries or houses of formation and focuses on sexual harassment, abuse and misconduct — what seminarians have experienced, what they are thinking on the issue and how seriously they perceive it is being addressed by their superiors.
Results were released at the 2019 Religion News Association conference in Las Vegas.
The survey had a 65 percent response rate among the approximately 2,375 seminarians contacted, with 68 percent of respondents studying to serve as diocesan priests and 28 percent studying to serve as religious priests or brothers. Of the 10 percent who indicated they had, or might have, experienced sexual harassment, 80 percent identified a fellow seminary student or religious in formation as the alleged perpetrator. Respondents were instructed to check all options that apply to account for multiple possible perpetrators, and one in five, or slightly less, identified a seminary authority (20 percent) or a Church authority not directly connected to their seminary (16 percent).
Read more here.