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Abuse was not common, says cardinal

Thursday 18 March 2010

Child abuse was not at all common during his 38 years as a catholic bishop, Dutch cardinal Ad Simonis told the Volkskrant on Thursday.

'If there were 10 cases, then that is a lot,' the paper quoted Simonis as saying.

Although he declined to say how many cases he was aware of, the cardinal did say one priest had been sacked.

'If a priest was involved, I was responsible. If it was a member of a religious order, it was up to the order itself,' he said.

Some 80% of the cases which have now been registered with the church authorities involve religious orders rather than priests, Simonis told the paper. 'That is a world that was far from mine, and one I had never anything to do with,' the cardinal said.

600 claims

Over 600 claims of sexual abuse by priests, monks and nuns have been registered with the church since the scandal broke in the Netherlands last month.

Former parliamentary chairman and CDA member Wim Deetman is to chair an independent investigation into the reports of sexual abuse at a number of Catholic boarding schools.

The far-ranging investigation was ordered by Catholic bishops following mounting reports of abuse by priests at schools and seminaries in the 1960s and 1970s.

© DutchNews.nl


Readers' Comments

Please let's stop claiming the investigation will be "independent." The head of it was chosen by the same church officials who have concealed clergy sex crimes for decades. Only time will tell whether or not the probe turns out to be "independent."

-David Clohessy, National Director, SNAP-Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, 7234 Arsenal Street, St. Louis MO 63143 (314 566 9790), SNAPnetwork.org, SNAPclohessy@aol.

By SNAPnetwork | 18 March 2010 2:23 PM

What ever unsavory practices are taking place within the church, it's not going to stop so long as faith remains above the law.

The cover-ups will continue so long that religion plays it's dominant roll in society. For a man to abstain from sexual relations is unnatural, just like the religion that dictates it's abnormal doctrines.

Speak the truth and let the truth be published, not censored!!!

By stevie | 18 March 2010 7:06 PM

Simonis is another scarlet disgrace. His feigned naivete besides being incredible is offensive. He needs to join the growing ranks of bishops around the world who need to step aside and apologize to their people for their incompetence and malfeasance. Maybe he and Cardinal Brady in Ireland can share a room in Cardinal Bernard Law's Roman palazzo.

By Lorenzo-NY | 18 March 2010 7:08 PM

I saw way too much, plus 5 years 1st level school, and have 5 years 2nd level, first hand experienced of the what life under Catholic Priests was like.

Beaten with leather straps too many times to remember, even when it was a Priest's 'favourite' causing trouble, split rulers twisted through hair and pull away fast, whacked with sticks, chalk hurled at heads and even better laugh if it hit an eye, even lifted of the ground by ears ...Oh! and the years of verbal abuse ... and the 'gropes of kindness' that was just beyond Abuse.

That was just during the 70s - in 80s I saw girls (and boys) being strung along by trainee priests who could not decide whether to give-up the relationships or try to keep them secret and become ordained and just carry-on ... which is what many were proposing to do ... and some did after becoming priests and didn't stay priests.

Then there was well heated Priest accommodation block while the pupils froze!
the heavy drinking, the expensive powerful cars, the jewellery, the holidays, the girlfriends and boyfriends ... the devout married women of a Parish were considered 'safe' as were 'house keepers'.

The Greeks offered the Pope a solution last week ... let Priests choose if the wish to marry of not. Seems like a very good solution.

By Gerard | 18 March 2010 7:49 PM

I am still certain that the vast majority of Christians are law abiding people and that the sex scandals taint an otherwise decent organisation that is responsible for many good works (even if they are misguided on the existence of a god thing).

However tainted they are. Unless they completely open up to external investigation, and hand over the child molesters and those that concealed them, the taint will never be removed.

I would have thought it the duty of every honest Christian to demand that these people be ousted.

By Nick | 19 March 2010 6:17 AM

The shame is not so much how common it was, but how it was knowingly covered up and allowed to continue by the Catholic Church. It's happened in many countries and there doesn't seem to be much justice being done

By Mark | 19 March 2010 8:31 AM

Christians or Catholics?

Most Catholics are basically Christians but I often have wondered if many Catholic Priests are Christians.

By Gerard | 19 March 2010 11:50 AM

@ Gerard, there are many cases of pedophile religious leaders in the non Catholic christians. Seeing that all religions are fake I do not worry about my children being molested by any person claiming to be godly!

By Paul Martin | 20 March 2010 11:14 AM

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