Prolific Kiwi children’s book author Joy Cowley defends bishops in sexual assualt trials, writing “both abuser and abused are victims” after seeing “how young women flirt with priests”.
Her opinion piece for CathNews New Zealand follows Palmerston North Bishop Charles Drennan’s resignation last week.
His resigned after an independent investigation into a complaint found unacceptable sexual behaviour with a young woman.
Ms Cowley, a member of the Order of New Zealand, wrote: “Catholic laity are generally understanding about priestly indiscretion. We know that a hungry man cannot be judged for stealing a loaf of bread.
“I am also sorry for the women concerned. But I have seen how young women flirt with priests. Do they think that a vow of celibacy guarantees immunity?
“Over the past few years, when I’ve read about a priest charged with sexual abuse, I’ve known that both abuser and abused are victims.”
She said the church’s insistence on mandatory celibacy “has never worked”.
The Catholic Church considers sexual relationships between clerics and women as sinful.
Ms Cowley has been writing books since the 1960s. They can be found in more than 70 per cent of schools.