No Belgian Church Escaped Child Sex Abuse

A recent investigation has found that “No Belgian church escaped sex abuse“:

Investigators, working with the support of the Belgian Catholic Church received 475 complaints of child abuse committed in the 1950s through to the late 1980s by Catholic clergy.

“We can say that no congregation escapes sexual abuse of minors by one or several of its members,” the commission concluded.
The 200-page report, published on Friday, contains testimonies from some 124 anonymous victims, revealing that abuse for most began at the age of 12.

It noted a “high number of suicides” with 13 deaths and six attempts attributed to “sexual abuse by a cleric”.

“We are talking here about anal and oral abuse, forced and mutual masturbation,” said Peter Adriaenssens, the psychiatric specialist in paedophilia who chaired the commission. [...]

A woman, quoted in the report, testified that she was abused at age 17 by a priest and tried to seek help from a bishop in 1983.
“I told him ‘I have a problem with one of your priests’. He told me: ‘Ignore him and he will leave you alone’,” she said.

  • JohnMWhite

    Sometimes I get a little uncomfortable with sweeping generalisations about paedophilia and sexual abuse within the church. It is a significant problem, in terms of both gravity and proportion, with the church’s own estimates suggesting around 5% of priests have abused children and other estimates going as high as 9%. Yet as much as I despise the institution and blame pretty much everyone still in it for supporting, tacitly or otherwise, the structure of silence that has allowed these crimes to continue for decades, I had always felt many people go a bit far in how widespread they suggest actual abuse within the church is. I am now chillingly reminded to never underestimate the Catholic Church’s capacity of cruelty and criminality. When it has happened in every single church in a country, the problem is no longer simply institutional, the problem is the institution.

  • Lone Wolf

    I wish I could say I was shocked but I’m not. What shocks me is that there are still catholics. How can anyone call them selfs catholic anymore?
    If a catholic reads this: Shame on you!

    • Olaf

      There is a lot of people being unbaptized as a reaction to this.

      What upsets people here is that even now the priests somehow tries to blame it in the victims and requests that the priests will be forgiven by those victims because that is what Jesus would do. These priests are so alienated form their followers.

  • Larian LeQuella

    I wouldn’t be surprised if this same result could be found in pretty much any country with catholic churches… And I echo Lone Wolf’s comment.

  • Jacob

    Anyone know where good statistics are on this issue? I have found a handful of google results that don’t seem to add up. A lot of news outlets quoting apologetics saying this abuse isn’t greater than the public average sexual abuse, which they say is roughly 10% (ridiculous in it’s own right). The best source I’ve found said general child abuse is around 1% of the population and then sexual abuse being 9% of that, so .09%, but there was no information about priest abuse in that info.

    • JohnMWhite

      I haven’t seen stats on the general public, though I would also be sceptical of a figure at 10% unless they are including adult-on-adult molestation/groping, rape and all other forms of sexual abuse. According to The Case of the Pope, the church’s own figures suggest around 5% of their priests have sexually abused children and outside estimates are between 5% and 10%.

    • Olaf

      The abuse should be zero. Since priests are the ones that should be the most trusted person in the world since he has a direct connection with god.

      And even if a priest would be weak and do something bad. The church should have put him on a burning stake to purify his soul.

      This shows me that either god is weak and not able to protect the victims or that it is an evil god.

  • tod forman

    Perhaps we should stop inculcating children with the religion of the church. Just saying….

  • dogeerf

    All of these cases should be fully investigated /prosecuted. Damages should be awarded to all victims. If the damages require that the churches sell all their property, so be it. And good riddance.