Patrick, you have good rhetoric, but your arguments are that of a teenager in rebellion against his father.
Boston here, by the way: you guys really don’t have anything on us, so your dudgeon has limited impact on me.
I hear your anger and frustration, I share it, but please face facts:
Fact #0) The media always distorts the truth. The government almost always distorts the truth. People in the Church who are guilty of seriously bad sin distort the truth. The rest of us are cool with the truth, and saddened by it - but we can see it in its proper context and proportion (for us, always against a backdrop of original sin and our personal sinfulness)
About sexual abuse, specifically:
1) Gay men, who are pathologically immature by definition, were permitted to be priests. They gained ascendancy and tended to protect their own. It happened here, it happened in Ireland. (I don’t have the statistics for Ireland, we found ~80% of victims were post-pubescent boys, with the rest evenly spread among other groups, and who knows about the under-reporting factor, really).
2) Immature men seek victims of their own level of immaturity. In the overwhelming majority of cases, they prayed on post-pubescent boys (“chicken-hawking” is what it was called by the gay community of my youth, in the 80s), which is, according to psychologists, ephebophilia, and is not a paraphilia like paedophilia.
3) So, what happened when one of these cases came up (which they came up in ones or twos, and it was unverifiable - it wasn’t like people did rape kits with DNA back in the 70s, did they? No.) is that some middle level Vicar sent the guy to the shrinks, who tell them there’s nothing wrong with them that having a sexual outlet of their own age won’t cure, or that they can return to struggling to live celibacy like a heterosexual male: that they are no different from many priests who go through shorter or longer periods of trial in celibacy. They aren’t “crazy”, is the verdict from the shrinks, and they just have to keep their nose clean until it passes. It’s just a sin, like any other, is the way the liberals interpret it. It’s just a guy getting it on with a slightly too young partner - nothing to be upset about, your Excellency.
4) Bishops of questionable orthodoxy, early on, not knowing the extent of the problem since people only came forward in relatively small numbers, took the shrink’s advice, and kept it quiet to avoid scandalizing the faithful (the same way they would keep it quite if the person the priest slept with was an adult)- or, indeed, kept it quiet to protect their own necks since they might have done similar things or were gay themselves, like a couple of our Bishops did. Later on, they had set a precedent (the wrong one, it turns out) and went on autopilot.
5) Then Cdl. Ratzinger, seeing the increasing reports as a problem back in the 90s, arranges to create a structure for a quicker path to getting the worst of these guys laicized via his position in the CDF, which happens IIRC around 2000?
6) The Boston Scandal hits 2001, things go to hell in a handbasket, each Diocese in the US gets the impact (except for the very small number of basically orthodox ones, who didn’t have as much of a problem, statistically).
7) A bunch of priests left the priesthood in the 70s through the 90s, for whatever reason - we don’t know. Many to get married, many not, some because of this. The Church was in a screwed up state basically after the 60s, and hasn’t entirely recovered, although most of the seminaries have been at least not horrible (‘pink palaces’) for 4 years or so.
8) You Irish, like we did, are getting reports of things that happened over the course of 70 years in the course of days and weeks. And if you watch, you’ll find fake statistics published and real ones dumped. You’ll find the same stories making the media because trial lawyers are trying to get massive awards (if it weren’t for this, the CC would have been handing out free counseling &c years ago, but they couldn’t because that would be tantamount to admitting wrongdoing in a court, when they didn’t have any legitimate reason to think wrong had been done - it was one guy’s word against another, and who’s lying? Hell if I know. There have been some priests acquitted of any possibility of wrongdoing after an accusation. Most priests just limp along for a long time, never being able to clear their names if they aren’t guilty. Anyone who thinks you can tell who’s lying under these circumstances is an idiot).
About Physical abuse:
1) The Irish of an earlier time were a little more abrasive overall with their children than the US.
2) You’re taking what we know today and projecting it on the past. Again, same problem: 100 years of every bad thing that ever happened, all shot out of the canon of the media at your eyeballs in the course of a year or so. Then, what they do, is find one more than, and one more horror story, an dribble it at you precisely around Easter and Christmas, to keep you in an entirely made-up mob mentality. It’s your 2 minutes of hate. It happens here too.
3) That said, many horrible incidents DID happen. But many _more_ horrible incidents happened in regular people’s families. Statistically, we’ve found even at the height of the scandal, the rate of abuse via someone in the Church was _vastly_ lower than the incidents that happen at home, or from a relative.
4) Finally, the vast majority of ‘abuse’ wasn’t considered abuse then. Deal with it, times change, it’s a pretense and hypocritical to go back in history and apply your hindsight.
Finally: if you require mandatory reporting for Confessions (first, seriously, how exactly are you supposed to get evidence to convict someone of this? This whole thing is just a manipulation of mob mentality by the people in power to keep you on a slow burn) with a prison penalty, then all priests are bound by conscience to go to prison, or be excommunicated.