Catholic church cardinal Wim Eijk has made a call in the Telegraaf for people to come clean about the sexual abuse of children by church officials.
Eijk made the appeal two years after the publication of a major report into abuse in Catholic institutions. The cardinal noted in his appeal that a quarter of all ongoing and finalised cases were abandoned because of a lack of evidence.
Abuse victims’ organisation Klokk said the appeal was brave and historic because it ‘announced the end of the culture of silence’.
After July 1 no more complaints can be submitted in cases which are too old in Dutch law or which are against people who have died, Nos television said.
‘The bell has to ring for the final round at some point,’ Eijk told the paper.
At least 800 Roman Catholic priests and monks were involved in abusing children in their care between 1945 and 1985, according to a comprehensive report into the church sexual abuse scandal published on December 16, 2011.
In addition, church officials, bishops and lay people were aware of what was going on but failed to take action to protect children, the commission, led by former Christian Democratic party chairman Wim Deetman, said. The commission was set up by the Catholic church in March 2010 after the sexual abuse scandal broke in the Netherlands and hundreds of victims came forward. Over 2,000 people registered their abuse with the authorities and a number of cases have been taken to court.