National Catholic Reporter
Jan. 03, 2012
By John L Allen Jr
Two leading politicians in the Netherlands, both from conservative parties, have called for the resignations of Catholic bishops in the wake of a damning report on sexual abuse in the Dutch church.
The country’s prime minister, Mark Rutte, also announced that his cabinet is considering lifting a statute of limitations to allow criminal prosecutions. A complaint has already been filed with the public prosecutor’s office against a former bishop of the Rotterdam diocese, Philippe Bär. An attorney representing alleged victims has charged Bär with covering up abuse during his tenure from 1983 to 1993.
Meanwhile, an influential Catholic commentator in Italy has rejected suggestions that the revelations amount to an indictment of the liberal spirit of Dutch Catholicism following the Second Vatican Council (1962-65).
Released on Dec. 16, the report found that somewhere between 10,000 and 20,000 Dutch children suffered abuse by Catholic personnel, ranging from unwanted sexual advances to rape, during the period of 1945 to 2010. A commission sponsored by the Catholic bishops and religious orders of Holland produced the report.
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