Most Dutch bishops knew about clerical sexual abuse

This December 2011 AFP video says about itself:

Dutch Catholic Church abused ‘tens of thousands’

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

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

More than half of the 39 Dutch bishops and cardinals between 1945 and 2010 knew of sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic Church. NRC daily reports this on the basis of its own research. According to the newspaper, the clergy covered up the abuse, allowing the perpetrators to make even more victims.

NRC has made an inventory of known and less well-known abuse cases within the church that have come to light since 2010. The newspaper has linked a list of names of senior church administrators to these cases, based on information from the church’s child abuse committee, reports by the Deetman Commission and its own research.

Of the twenty cardinals, bishops and auxiliary bishops named by NRC, four are said to have abused children themselves. Sixteen others are said to have transferred pedophile priests to other parishes, where they then often continued abusing, writes the newspaper. None of the bishops is still active and all cases are barred according to NRC.

In a reaction, a spokesperson for the Roman Catholic Church in the Netherlands says that the NRC story is broadly correct. “The newspaper has put the reports the Deetman research, of the Complaints Committee and its own research together well”, she says.

Representatives of abuse survivors point out that this situation is distressing for victims who in recent years complained to the church about abuse, and who were told that the church authority was not aware of that abuse. “They have been abused again”, says a spokesman.

The Women’s Platform on Child Abuse (VPKK) says that victims think that the cardinals and bishops are complicit and that their policies have made more victims.

Moreover, says the VPKK, there are still places within the Catholic Church in the Netherlands where abuse is not mentionable. Victims who want to tell their stories feel pressured to remain silent.


The Dutch bishops’ conference says it is regrettable that bishops in the past have not taken their responsibility or even have committed abuse themselves.

The still living clergy mentioned in the inventory are aware of the list, but have not yet responded, writes the newspaper.

10 thoughts on “Most Dutch bishops knew about clerical sexual abuse

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