A reader writes:
Searching Google Books using euphemistic keywords like +cleric +corrupt reveals a centuries long history of rape and abuse within the Church, a history often celebrated by the Church itself, but as a lesson of overcoming temptations of the flesh. For example, consider the 12th century Christina of Markyate, a "young girl or adolescent" who after taking a vow of chastity, fled from an arranged marriage and sought protection from the Archbishop of York. Her story is told in John of Tynemouth's 13th century Latin manuscript Sanctilogium Angliae:
The archbishop commended her to the charge of a certain cleric, a close friend of his, whose name, I am under obligation not to divulge. He was at once a religious and a man of position in the world: and relying on this twofold status Christina felt the more safe in staying with him. And certainly at the beginning they had no feelings about each other, except chaste and spiritual affection. But the devil, the enemy of chastity, not brooking this for long, took advantage of their close companionship and feeling of security to insinuate himself first stealthily and with guile, than later on, alas, to assault them more openly. And, loosing his fiery darts, he pressed his attacks so vigorously that he completely overcame the man's resistance. But he could not wrest consent from the maiden ... Sometimes the wretched man, out of his senses with passion, came before her without any clothes on and behaved in so scandalous a manner that I cannot make it known, lest I pollute the wax by writing it, or the air by saying it.This one story, 900 years old now, contains all the key elements of the scandal: abuse of trust, secrecy, and complicity of the hierarchy. As you have been writing, there are many more recorded accounts like it, and undoubtedly innumerable accounts never recorded.