After abuse report, Dutch Catholic Church expresses shock and shame
The Netherlands’ bishops and leaders of Catholic religious orders are
“shocked” by a new report from a commission investigating sexual abuse
in the Catholic Church in the country.
“It fills us with shame and sorrow,” they said Dec. 16. “For us,
religious and bishops, for the entire faith community, but also for
society as a whole, it is painful to observe that a number of priests
and religious failed when it came (to) conscientious behavior toward
children and young people.” Between 10,000 and 20,000 children suffered abused at Church
institutions between 1945 and 2010. Perpetrators numbered in the
hundreds and included priests, brothers and lay people in religious
orders and congregations.
The investigation defined abuse as ranging from “unwanted sexual advances” to rape. Wim Deetman, a Protestant former government minister, lead the commission, which was set up by the Catholic Church last year. He said it was untenable to believe that leaders did not know there
was a risk. He also stated that abuse continued, in part, because
bishops and religious orders sometimes worked on their own to deal with
the abuse and did not “hang out their dirty laundry.”