Hat tip to RH RealityCheck community member Crowepps for this story.
Continuing the pattern that has been the hallmark of the institutional Catholic Church’s response to sexual abuse of children by priests in the United States, the Netherlands’ Handelsblad.com reports that the Dutch Catholic Church for years ignored reports by children and families that sexual abuse of boys by priests was rife in Catholic schools.
A rash of reports of abuse of children in the sixties and seventies and more recent revelations of abuse has led to calls for investigation of the Church and its practices.
Yvo van Kuijck, former chairman of the independent Assessment and Advisory Committee, which cooperates with the Netherlands’ hotline for reporting sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, told Handelsblad.com that while sexual abuse of children by priests has been brought to light in a number of countries, recent apologies from the Vatican are “too little too late.”
Almost 300 reports of sexual abuse have been lodged since the hotline was set up in 1995.
“It has taken too long for the Church to apologise and take action,” van Kuijck said. “The Dutch bishops adopted the same ‘wait and see’ approach. I didn’t get the impression that dealing with sexual abuse was a priority for them.”
Two years ago, dissatisfied with the attitude taken by the Dutch bishops, Kuijck resigned along with his entire committee, because they learned priests guilty of abuse in one parish were simply transferred to another parish where they were free to find new victims. “Not only is that unprofessional, it’s inconceivable,” said Van Kuijck, who is now vice-president of the district court in Arnhem.
Van Kuijck sees cause for further investigation. Although it is no longer his responsibility, he believes it is in the interests of the church to look into the matter. “If it’s a structural problem at an institution, then there is every reason to take a good look at what’s going on,” van Kuijck told Handelsblad.com.