“The responses to abuse cases have been inadequate”

Vatican Insider

In an interview with “Témoignage Chretien” Professor Munsterman gives some initial comments in light of the shocking findings of the Deetman Committee. Meanwhile, results as a whole prove wrong the thesis that the Church is more affected by the scandals than the rest of society

Giacomo Galeazzi
Vatican City

Before the anti-abuse “purification” imposed by Benedict XVI on national bishops’ conferences, the response of national churches to the worldwide scandal of paedophile priests has been inadequate. In fact, the “tendency to retreat, accompanied by mistrust towards the outside world” and “attempts to escape from the critical issues” must be avoided. Hendro Munsterman, Director of the Ministry of Religious Studies at the Catholic University of Lyon recognized the responsibilities of the ecclesiastical hierarchy, inspired by the shocking conclusions of the Deetman Committee, established at The Hague. The survey estimates that there have been “tens of thousands” of victims of sexual abuse by around 800 paedophile priests in the Netherlands between 1945 and 2010. “Tens of thousands of children have suffered light, serious or very serious sexual abuse by priests in the Dutch Catholic Church between 1945 and 2010,” the commission wrote in the report.

“On the basis of 1,795 reports, the Committee was able to trace 800 abusers who have worked or are working for the diocese, and at least 105 are still alive,” the report continued. Based on the results received by the Deetman Commission, Professor Hendro Munsterman, on information website Témoignage Chretien observes how the investigation conducted in the Netherlands denies that clerical celibacy leads to child abuse. Instead, the sex scandals involving “infidel” clergy are linked to “a drift due to a relationship of power and the victim’s dependence on the individual committing the abuse.” According to Hendro Munsterman, the idea that paedophilia among priests is caused by celibacy and a Catholic sexual morality that is too rigid, is “too simplistic”.

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