Catholic Church abused 'thousands'

2011-12-16 18:03

The Hague - An independent Dutch inquiry into child sexual abuse committed by Catholic priests said on Friday it found "tens of thousands" of victims since 1945, identifying 800 alleged perpetrators.

Tens of thousands of minors were exposed to "mild, severe or very severe sexual behaviour" by clergy or lay workers in the Dutch Catholic Church over a 65-year period between 1945 and 2010, the commission said in its final report.

"Based on 1 795 reports, the commission could find the names of 800 abusers who work or have worked for" Roman Catholic bishops in The Netherlands, the report said.

Most were priests, but the figure also includes lay workers. "Of these 800 people, 105 are still alive."

"It's an absolutely enormous figure," said former education minister Wim Deetman who chaired the six-person commission including a former judge, university professors and a psychologist that began its inquiry in 2010.

Criminal charges

Deetman said it was up to prosecutors to decide if the surviving alleged abusers should face criminal charges.

Claims of alleged sexual abuse examined by the inquiry went from "light physical contact to penetration", he said.

Dutch bishops expressed their regrets and offered "sincere apologies" to the victims.

"This episode fills us with shame and sorrow," the bishops' conference said in a statement, adding that they were "shocked by the sexual abuse of minors and the practices detailed in this report".

Based on an examination of Church archives, the commission chair Deetman said that the problem of sexual abuse had been "on the agenda of Episcopal meetings" since the 1940s.

"The Dutch Catholic Church knew what was happening and tried to resolve the problem," but the appropriate actions were never taken, Deetman told a press conference in The Hague.

A taboo on discussing sexuality in society until the 1960s and the Catholic Church's "closed" administrative structure were in part responsible for religious authorities' passive response to the problem, the commission said.


"Then again, people simply could not believe that a religious person could do that," said Deetman.

The former minister said the inquiry came to no conclusion about a direct link between priestly celibacy and sexual abuse, but the commission's report said celibacy posed a risk and led to a "need for sexuality".

Deetman said the risk of sexual abuse was "twice as high" for minors attending boarding schools than for others, but he stressed that the problem also existed in non-Catholic boarding schools.

The Catholic Church has been rocked by revelations of widespread sexual abuse of minors in several countries in recent years, including the US, Germany, Ireland, Belgium and Austria.

In 2004, a criminal inquiry established there were 4 400 paedophile priests in the US between 1950 and 2002, putting the number of their child victims at 11 000.

Dutch bishops decided in 2010 to open an inquiry after revelations of widespread abuse in the Netherlands were first reported in the national press.

In February, a Catholic order in the Netherlands said it would pay compensation to more than two dozen victims of sexual abuse committed by its priests.


The Order of Salesians of Don Bosco reached a deal to make "generous" restitution to individuals who fell victim to sexual abuse by priests as pupils at its boarding schools between 1950 and 1971, a joint statement said.

Estimates of the number of victims of child sexual abuse by the Catholic Church was based on a survey of more than 34 000 Dutch people aged 40 and over, representative of Dutch society.

A committee set up to advise the Church on compensation reported last June that victims should receive up to €100 000, depending on the severity of the abuse.

  • mario - 2011-12-16 18:09

    anyone surprised?

      Jack - 2011-12-16 18:17

      Sick bastards!! Religion is the root of all evil.

      Bob - 2011-12-16 18:19


      Alva - 2011-12-16 18:44

      Sad about Christopher Hitchens. He was and is not alone. There are others who will keep pointing an accusing finger at the Catholic church. RIP Christopher.

      John - 2011-12-16 19:06

      Come on Stasis..! We need to end this disasterous Mother Earth era of sick, corrupt, violent, greedy earth-humans..!

      patrick.omalley - 2011-12-16 19:27

      Every time an independent investigation is done, they find rampant child rape in the Catholic church. The U.S. should use RICO statutes to investigate the Catholic church and bring their pedophile protection program to justice.

  • Shoe - 2011-12-16 18:18

    So the dictionary should adopt a new definition for Catholic: Sodomy.

      Phoenix - 2011-12-16 22:21

      Many of the victims were little girls.

  • Burtfred - 2011-12-16 18:18

    Thousands of brainwashed men in frocks, forced by their sexist, facist mafiosi employers to be celibate. How can RC priests be taken seriously and how can we expect them to not try to express their human sexuality? The Vatican live in (a very wealthy) cloud-cuckoo land.

      Malcolm - 2011-12-16 19:20

      The Catholic Church must admit their grave mistake in forcing Priests to be celibate. Quite clearly they’re not, by any stretch of the imagination. Marriage is a gift which every person has the right to enjoy, despite the Catholic’s repressive edicts. Look what their laws have created; the Catholic Church must take full responsibility, not the unnaturally restricted Priests.

      Burtfred - 2011-12-16 19:26

      I agree with you Malcolm. We cannot pretend that healthy young men won't have sexual ambitions or that Christ in any way ever condemned sexuality. He embraced our sexuality and encouraged men and women to be sexual in a loving and commited relationship. The Vatican are not Christian, they are Popist.

      Ibhubesi - 2011-12-16 19:53

      @Malcolm. When you choose life of "celibacy" in the Catholic Church, you are old enough to know what you want sexually. They congregate together as homosexual men, because no heterosexual man will ever choose this as way of life. They then get posted out to different congregations and prey on the kids. Here by us, they are having a blast! There are so many orphans to abuse and as a boy, you want to hide this shame. You can't go to a black policeman here and tell him this. They will condemn you and you will be an outcast of your own society forever. You said the priests were unnaturally restrained? I beg to differ. They are all gay and know exactly what they are getting into.

      Phoenix - 2011-12-16 22:24

      Burtfred... Gay men are NOT peadophiles. There is a hugevfreakin difference. People who have sex with kids are both gay and straight... And hevare all peadophiles!

      Burtfred - 2011-12-16 22:47

      @Phoenix Where did I refer to "Gay" men. Only you did. Poephol.

  • FerretGee - 2011-12-16 18:34

    Sexual abuse of any kind is intolerable, sexual abuse by a member of a church is even worse. Those are men who one should be able to trust yet they abused their position by using fear and intimidation, content in the knowledge that they would not be sanctioned in any way by the church heirachy other than maybe being shipped off to a parish miles away from civilistion. The worst part of this whole sick sceneario is that the Pope and his predecessors have done nothing to stop this scourge and continue to cover it up and pay lip service to those complaining. Celibacy clearly leads to frustration and seeing as they can safely say they havent had sexual contact with the female form, they say nothing about their perverted acts with young boys.

  • Andrew - 2011-12-16 18:40

    Why is it always the Catholic Church. Charge the pope for crimes against humanity!!!!

      Ibhubesi - 2011-12-16 19:08

      You can't. The Vatican is a sovereign state and Italy's laws don't apply there. The Pope could care less. I am one of MANY black boys sodomised by the priests here. When you are young, and orphaned like most of us, you stand helpless against this evil. You go through this horrifying deed in the hope you will get a bit of food. I got a Marmite sandwich. If ever there was an evil religion, then it is this one. Nobody that hasn't gone through this will ever understand how hard the battle is to get back your manliness after an incident like this.

  • Debbi - 2011-12-16 18:45

    Not at all surprised. I personally know of many boys/men who were abused in this country by Catholic priests. Absolutely despicable. Perhaps when the final numbers are tallied we will see that the Catholic Church is responsible for more atrocities than Hitler.

  • patrick.omalley - 2011-12-16 19:26

    It takes a village to rape a child, and Catholics have the best pedophile protection village, with thousands of priests that rape children, hundreds of bishops that hide them and move them around, and a billion people that apologize for it. The problem is MUCH, MUCH worse than we've seen so far. The U.S. should use RICO statutes to investigate the Catholic church and bring their pedophile protection program to justice.

      Ibhubesi - 2011-12-16 20:05

      @Athetis. Don't worry about the people that sit here and thumbs down the criticism. Life is funny. In days to come it could be their child or grandchild at the hands of these monsters. What goes around, comes around.

  • linda.l.mndayi - 2011-12-16 19:48

    God's men?

  • toibry - 2011-12-16 20:47

    His words will bring everyone to awed attention.

  • samgaf - 2011-12-16 21:06

    Has the Catholics been involved in porn for sooooo long and NO-ONE knew?????

      Debbi - 2011-12-16 23:55

      That is exactly the point - lots of people knew. Its just that nobody actually did anything to stop it.

  • TheWatcher - 2011-12-17 08:51

    There are sick freaks everywhere but thankfully they are the exception not the rule. For the most part churches do good work like soup kitchens, charity fundraisers, hampers for poor mother's of newborn babies at hospitals and the like. These other degenerates need to be locked up in jail where they can't hurt anybody else.

  • Derek - 2011-12-17 14:16

    So we solve the problem by paying off the victims? It's disgusting, these criminals must be thrown in prison and the institutions that breed them closed down.

  • pages:
  • 1