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Paedophilia has risen to epidemic proportions in Australia Although there is no hard empirical evidence the enormous surge of recent attention on the abuse of children by priests suggests that there is an even bigger endemic in the Australian church The psychological damage to victims of child sexual assault are great Psychological disorders in victims are common including sexual disorders bipolar disorder manic depression and depression distressing conditions which may ultimately lead to suicide Victims also may become perpetrators and continue the cycle Morrison 1995 Johnson 1988 Tomeo et al 2001 Widom 1995 Bickley and Beech 2001 Thus the question of how any such criminal morally reprehensible and pathological acts as paedophilia can find a place in the lives of men so trusted well-educated committed to a life of good works and presumably guided by God is an important one and one of which has been the subject of much debate This question has given rise to many theories which come under two main headings - features of the church that attract paedophiles to the priesthood and features of the church that are moulding or creating paedophiles The first includes the accessibility of children and acquisition of trust disguise offered through priesthood endowment of power to priests the tradition of secrecy celibacy and repentance The second includes Celibacy power and narcissism and seminary school studies Each will be discussed individually followed by a more detailed discussion of the most highly controversial argument concerning the contribution of homosexuality in the church to the paedophile crisis It is believed by some that there is a disproportionate number - on the high side of homosexuals in the church and this is the root of the paedophile crisis Obviously there are many more factors that may be involved however only the main factors are covered The validity of each theory will be considered Unfortunately there is much research still required before a real answer can be found however
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