Beyond the deadline

The commission Deetman, investigating the abuse crisis in the Church, has closed its first major phase yesterday. The deadline for reporting new cases was yesterday. A spokesman for the commission said: “A few responses trickled in on Wednesday [1 December], but there was no flood of new reports. People who want to inform the commission are well aware of the deadline.”

New reports after today will not be ignored, but won’t be used for the scientific investigation. The commission first advice, regarding aid to the victims, is expected on 9 December.

Bishop Gerard de Korte, spokesman on behalf of the Dutch bishops on the abuse crisis, expressed his shock and horror when he looked back on the past year. “That last week we got the news that a victim was abused by no less than seven priests, that is disgusting. That is so shameful. You feel powerlessness, anger, sorrow: all emotions at the same time. But that is of course nothing compared that what the victims have been through.”

The bishop describes 2010 as ‘hectic’, “and we haven’t reached the end yet”.

The vast majority of the sexual and physical abuse took place in religious orders and congregations. 85% percent of the reports that Hulp & Recht received related to these. The pastoral need among the religious is many times greater than among diocesan priests, Bishop de Korte says.

“It is also sad that the good works of brothers is now overshadowed by this. Evil shouts, good whispers. Because there are many religious who have worked all their lives. A few bad eggs among them have destroyed a lot.”