A conspiracy of silence

conspiracy of silence

A conspiracy of silence is an agreement between two or more parties to refrain from speaking about something. A “mutually agreed upon” conscious decision not to publicize information, even if it is otherwise justifiable, because doing so would have on the people involved in the conspiracy.

An example would be a quiet policy of not prosecuting known child molesters to avoid bad publicity for a church, school, sporting team, or other public institution.

How is a conspiracy of silence is related to the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse cases?

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In the case of the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse cases, a conspiracy of silence also includes intentional inaction by officials who have the ability to stop abusive priests from harming others but fail to do so.

Most commonly cited is what has been described as a conspiracy of silence among some bishops, who allegedly did not take action to remove priests suspected of sexually abusing children.

Criticisms directed at the conspiracy of silence theory center on whether such allegations should be described as a “conspiracy”. For example, one critical book about this issue accuses an apparent band of conspirators (not limited to the Catholic Church) of “using an unproven conspiracy theory as a catch-all to rationalize and explain all manner of crimes”.

What is the main cause of this issue?

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From his investigation of sex abuse in eight Catholic dioceses, Gauthe’s attorney says there were common practices and attitudes that allowed priests accused of molesting children to be reassigned to other parishes.

Another cause was the actions of intentional inaction by officials, who had the ability to stop an abusive priest from harming others but failed.

The church’s culture of secrecy helped hide hundreds of sexual abusers, with church leaders more intent on protecting priests and the image of the Catholic Church than tending to victims of sex crimes.

What are some examples of opposition to the conspiracies of silence?

Some in the church have opposed this theory with the argument that not all allegations made against priests are true, and that in some cases, unsubstantiated charges were leveled by individuals out to gain financial compensation or other benefits.

The most famous case cited is New York’s Father Bruce Ritter, who was accused of financial improprieties and sexual involvement with young men in his care. While he was never criminally charged, his Covenant House ministry has since been shut down.

What are the drawbacks of the conspiracy of silence?

Conspiracy of silence is a phrase commonly used to describe secrecy and collusion in human sexuality. The term is usually applied when allegations or evidence of sexual crimes are ignored or not acted upon, with the cooperation of others who have some authority over the victim(s) and/or perpetrator(s).

A conspiracy theory may be advocated by those who believe that a group of people cooperate to form an agreement about a false narrative.


The term “conspiracy of silence” is used in many different contexts. It may be claimed by certain people that a conspiracy of silence exists on some topic, which must be exposed to the light of day, often using arguments based on circumstantial evidence.

However, not all allegations made against priests are true and unsubstantiated charges were leveled by people out to gain financial compensation or other benefits. This is the drawback of the conspiracies of silence.

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