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Despite continuing disclosures about sexual misconduct by its priests, the latest on Thursday, the Catholic Church is not responding to the problem as aggressively or as uniformly as other religious denominations, according to a number of specialists in religion and in sexual abuse.

While the problem of sexual abuse among clergy appears to cut across all religious denominations, critics say the Catholic Church is having a particularly hard time confronting the problem in part because of a lack of leadership from Rome, the church’s unique adherence to celibacy, and its long tradition of handling sexual scandals more privately than other denominations.

“You would expect the Catholic Church could do more than other churches because it has the most centralized lines of authority,” said Gary Schoener, executive director of the Walk-in Counseling Center in Minneapolis and a nationally recognized expert on sexual misconduct by clergy and professionals. “But it’s a very mixed picture — you have some archdioceses that are way out ahead of this issue and you have others that are totally out of it.”

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