Sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests in the United States is a “historical problem” that has largely been resolved and that never had any significant correlation with either celibacy or homosexuality, according to an independent report commissioned by Catholic bishops — and subjected to fierce attack even before its release on Wednesday.

The report blamed the sexual revolution for a rise in sexual abuse by priests, saying that Catholic clerics were swept up by a tide of “deviant” behavior that became more socially acceptable in the 1960s and ’70s.

As that subsided, and as the church instituted reforms in the 1990s and 2000s, the problem of priests acting as sexual predators sharply declined, according to the study by John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.

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