In the spirit of openness

In what is perhaps the most significant step taken by a Dutch diocese in the wake of the abuse crisis, the Diocese of Haarlem-Amsterdam has decided to make public all sexual abuse cases concerning priests of the diocese between 1945 and today. A special section of the diocesan website now features information on four cases in which some settlement has been reached, four which are still being investigated, and finally two statements on specific abuse cases. In some cases the accused priest is specifically named upon the request of the victim(s) or on the advice of the nationwide Meldpunt Seksueel Misbruik.

The Diocese of Haarlem-Amsterdam is without doubt the most visibly active diocese in the Netherlands in the fight against sexual abuse of minors by clerics. The ordinary, Bishop Jos Punt, has written several letters to keep the faithful informed about progress made and steps taken and has frequently met with victims or their families. Auxiliary Bishop Jan Hendriks has spoken out about the crisis as well, both on the diocesan website and his personal website.

This step, to make public the running and finalised cases against priests of the diocese, both alive and deceased, is a difficult but laudable step in the process of getting this terrible tragedy behind us. Ultimately, it is a matter of justice.

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