Sexual abuse – the double standards of the state

About a year ago, as the extent of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church over the past sixty years or so became clear, there were many voices calling for the Church, in the persons of the bishops, to publicly apologise for the crimes committed. For even though many of the abuse cases happened in the past, the current bishops continue in the responsible role of their predecessors. On multiple occasions, the bishops did so, publicly and in private meetings with victims. It was also hoped that the Catholic response to the crisis would be an example to other parts of society, because it was already clear that sexual abuse is not an exclusively Catholic problem. On the contrary.

At the same time that the Deetman Commission was investigating the Church, another commission, headed by former attorney general Rieke Samson, was doing the same for children who were entrusted to the care of the state. This commission recently published its conclusions, and the numbers were even more staggering than the ones revealed by the Deetman Commission.

In the case of the Catholic cases, there were debates in parliament, and calls from politicians that the Church needed to take responsibility. Rightly so.

But now the ball is in the state’s court. And today we find that that state has no intention of apologising. They have sympathy for the victims, Secretary of Security and Justice Ivo Opstelten said today, but that, it seems, is as far as it goes.

Taking responsibility and taking care of the victims, not to mention punishing the perpetrators, is apparently not something that the state, represented by parliament, considers applicable to itself. When it happened in the Church, calls for resignations and criminal trials were called for. Now that the state carries the same level of responsibility for what happened in state-owned shelters and orphanages as the bishops did for the sexual abuse in the Church, none of that applies. Even public apologies are too much to ask for.

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incaelo

I'm a 35-year-old lay Catholic from the diocese of Groningen-Leeuwarden. I write about the Catholic Church in the Netherlands. I not only enjoy bringing selected developments to the attention of readers, but I also think that it is sometimes important to allow a wider audience to read about the state of the Church in the Netherlands. That's why a lot of posts about that topic will be translations of Dutch articles, episcopal writings and whatever else.

3 thoughts on “Sexual abuse – the double standards of the state”

  1. I’d appreciate it is someone else would talk about Andreas Unterburger’s story about the Austrian girls’ orphanage which has at least 500 cases of abuse and has been pretty much ignored world-wide.

  2. Jesus teaches us not to judge.”Do not not judge and you will not be judged. In the same way you judge others you will be judged and the measure you use for others will be used for you. Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye and not see the plunk in your own eye. How can you say to your brother, ‘Come, let me take a speck from your eye’ as long as that plank is your eye…” ( Matthew chapter 7:1-5) This is a reality that most of us fail to realize. It is a hard nut to crack when it bounces back to us.Nonetheless this should not make us not criticize any indecent behavoiur so long us we are not prey to it.The state should pay in the same currency.

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