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Netherlands Catholic Church Rocked By Report Detailing 65 Years of Sexual Abuse

Photo of light streaming in through a Catholic Church.
A new report detailing decades of sexual abuse in the Netherlands was released last week. Image via Pixabay.

Continuing the trend of reports recently leaked documenting decades of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, a new such report has appeared in the Netherlands.

Just a few days ago, a leaked report implicated Catholic priests in Germany of sexually abusing kids and seminarians over a 70-year period. A few weeks before that, the Catholic Church in America was implicated in a different report also documenting 70 years of priests’ sexually abusing minors and church coverups. Now, a new report emerged of how the Catholic Church in the Netherlands either abused children or covered up for sexual-predator-priests for 65 years (1945-2010).

According to the Dutch report, more than half of the bishops in the Netherlands either sexually molested minors or helped to hide the situation. In many cases, Catholic bishops covered up for child molesters by transferring abusive priests to other parishes where they continued their crimes.

Bishops Now Dead or Past Statute of Limitations

The report was published in NRC Handelsblad, the Netherland’s most reputable newspaper and accused Church leadership of adopting a “policy of transfers and turning a blind eye” to abusive priests. Within the investigated period, 20 bishops out of 39 looked the other way when a bishop or priest was accused of sexual abuse with children, while four auxiliary bishops were indicted in molesting minors.

The four accused auxiliary bishops are Bishop Jan Niënhaus of Utrecht, Bishop Jo Gijsen of Roermond, Philippe Bär Rotterdam, and Jan ter Schure of Den Bosch. All of them are dead except Philippe Bär Rotterdam, who is now 90 years old. Rotterdam was said to have had illicit sexual contact with seminarians, just like ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, former Archbishop of Washington.

Daphne van Roosendaal, a Church spokeswoman, confirmed the names of several bishops in the newspaper report are the same in a 2010 report commissioned by the Church. She, however, added that most of the accused bishops are dead and that the Dutch statute of limitations had expired for all the cases.

Sixteen of the bishops named in the report were accused of concealing abusive priests and transferring them to other parishes. Among these were Cardinal Bernard Jan Alfrink and Cardinal Adrianus Johannes Simonis, who both served as Archbishop of Utrecht. Alfrink died in 1987, but Simonis is now retired. All the others are no longer in active ministry.

Decades of Abuse and Catholic Church Coverups

The Dutch newspaper recounted the story of one particular priest who the Church found violated three girls aged 6 and 7. The Church transferred the priest from one diocese to another, but he eventually succeeded in committing suicide in 1990 when he was confronted with yet another scandal.

“The parents of the three girls had alerted the diocese through their parish priest,” said Annemie Knibbe, director of the Dutch organization Women’s Platform on Child Abuse.

“It was promised that the chaplain would go into therapy. The girls lived under the false impression for decades that other children were protected from such a horrible occurrence. When it later turned out that the man had just continued with his practices, that was hard for them,” she told NRC Handelsblad.

One sexual abuse victims came forward and told the Dutch newspaper that years ago she tried to get justice. She wrote the pope but got no reply, so she flew to Rome and personally hand-delivered her letter to the Vatican but again got no repy.

Not one of the victims got any form of justice.

“Sexual abuse shouldn’t happen anywhere, but certainly not in the Church, which has the mission to proclaim the Gospel of Christ,” a statement from the Dutch bishops’ conference said.

To find a lasting solution to the problem at hand, Pope Francis has summoned the presidents of bishops’ conferences around the world to Rome on February 21-24, 2019. The pope’s advisory Council of Cardinals may also be in attendance.

 

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14 Comments

  1. Janice Iannaccone September 20, 2018

    Welcome to church. Nice to molest you.?

    Reply
    1. Juan Reynoso September 25, 2018

      Do not let the acts of few criminal priests, destroy your faith in God. We trust priests because they supposed to guide us into morality and to believe the teaching of Jesus Christ, to love one another and live in harmony with all of God creation. Few criminals should not destroy our faith in God. At the end we are the ones that have to account to God for our Dees, and we cannot deceive God; he knows what is in our mind, what is in our hearth, what we did yesterday and what we will do tomorrow; we are not perfect but we should always do our best to follow the golden rule. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Does following this Golden Rule affect our relationship with God and His answers to our prayers? I think it does.
      http://teachings-of-jesus-christ.org/

  2. Tall Mike September 20, 2018

    More like two thousand years of abuse.

    Reply
  3. Carol Funk September 20, 2018

    Bet your not Catholic and the same thing is going on in your church

    Reply
  4. April Severin September 20, 2018

    It’s world wide where ever there’s kids and women!!!!

    Reply
  5. Komonda Nelson September 20, 2018

    So sad

    Reply
  6. Alyson Michie September 20, 2018

    Not surprised

    Reply
  7. Larry L. Cunningham September 20, 2018

    Surprised?

    Reply
  8. Shirley Hawkins September 20, 2018

    Been gone on to long

    Reply
  9. Pat Ward September 20, 2018

    Sexual abuse is rampant in all religious organizations.

    Reply
    1. Walter Brewer September 21, 2018

      JUST CATHOLIC….YOU HAVEN’T HEARD ANYTHING ON THIS SCALE ABOUT THE BAPTIST CHURCH

  10. June Lysell September 20, 2018

    Wow more holier-than-thou churches screw up again!!! Kinda like our current government trying to shove a male chauvinist pig onto the Supreme Court with no credibility!!!!

    Reply
  11. Kurt Bogle September 22, 2018

    Do your history, connect the dots. The Vatican was founded by Constantin. Not really a church but a hide out for old Rome, and the biggest spy network on Earth. “Why do you think they have confession.” The Vatican is a country unto itself, with ties to Switzerland.
    I don’t know who owns the Swiss Banks, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Vatican did. They are both guarded by the Swiss Guards.

    Reply
  12. Betty Major September 25, 2018

    Such a shame and doing it in the name of God

    Reply

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