A commission studying Catholic sex abuse cases in Amsterdam has turned up some pretty disturbing facts. The commission, led by former Hague mayor Wim Deetman and funded by the Catholic Church, found that while boys were particularly vulnerable to sexual abuse within the Church, a shocking number of girls were also institutionally abused, suffering molestation at the hands of clergy, both in their homes and at church, as well as systematic physical and intimidation at the hands of nuns.
The commission turned up some sad statistics. In the Netherlands, more than 20,000 children had been molested at Catholic boarding schools between 1945 and 2010 and “several tens of thousands” of others were subjected to unspecified forms of abuse during that period.
“In cases of physical violence without sexual abuse, both new and previous complaints point toward primarily female perpetrators, mostly nuns who worked as educators or caregivers,” Deetman wrote in his conclusions. “In heavy cases of sexual abuse, the perpetrators were primarily male.”
The Dutch Catholic Church has apologized for being a part of these allegations. “Not only the doers are blameworthy, but also those who were to ensure things went properly in the homes and institutions where the girls were sheltered,” they said in a statement. “Violating the physical and spiritual integrity of any person, especially that of children, is under all circumstances repulsive.”
The commission turned over a small percentage of cases for prosecution, only where they felt that a case was still within the statute of limitations. All other cases were turned over to the Church for mediation. Of course, the Church is suffering severe financial losses in court cases. The Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad estimates that the Church has already spent more than $40 million in compensation to sexual abuse victims and there is no end in sight.
I find it funny that the Catholic Church acts like this is a limited problem, it only happens in a few disparate localities and only by a very few priests. They paint them as “bad eggs” but it’s painfully obvious how far-reaching this problem really is. It happens around the world in virtually every country that the Catholic Church operates in, it’s not just a few bad apples, it’s a whole bad orchard. Yet the Church still doesn’t want to come clean and they still don’t want to change their ways, they are still hiding pedophile priests, shuffling molesters around to new parishes and act surprised when the courts hand down massive multi-million dollar settlements. They just don’t learn their lesson and they won’t acknowledge the truth.
And they say religion doesn’t harm anyone…