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.
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.