Friday, March 26, 2010

Some thoughts about the child abuse by Catholic clergy

The historian Maarten van den Bos of the University of Amsterdam argues that celibacy is not the only explanation for child sex abuse at Roman Catholic boarding schools and seminaries in the 1950s and 1960s. "The finger is often pointed at celibacy as the determining factor, but that is too easy. Of course, celibacy will have played a role, but much more important is the under-reported fact that nearly all the accusations relate to boarding schools. The then prevalent power structures, the closed nature of these schools and the frequent contact between teachers and students are much stronger factors than celibacy. Abuse was also common at British boarding schools and in Scouting." Mr Van den Bos also points to the changing attitudes toward sexuality among Catholics in the 1950s. Extensive debates on sexuality were initiated in Catholic magazines, often arguing for a healthy sex life as part of the 'loving encounter' between spouses. "The changing mindset among Dutch Catholics in the 1950s had its effect on the value attached to priestly celibacy". The large number of men leaving the priesthood in the 1960s is believed to have been the result of changing social attitudes. Mr Van den Bos writes that the priests and monks in the Netherlands would have been aware of these developments, and argues for an examination of the role they played in the abuse scandal.

Former minister Wim Deetman, who was appointed by the Dutch bishops to chair a commission to investigate the abuse, has announced he will present a plan of inquiry. According to Mr Van den Bos, he would do well to choose a broad approach which would place the abuse in the wider context of how Dutch Catholics dealt with sexuality. "Such an approach would place the abuse at boarding schools in perspective and avoid the all-too-easy image of celibate men of God indulging their sexual urges on innocent children".

In my opinion this inquiry must extend to the systematically abuse of women and children by teachers, imams and other Muslem leaders in the Netherlands, for example the imam of the Hague Islamic cleric, whos radical views are even in countries such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE unacceptable. Here an interview with the guy.


Day Opening - March 26

La Flores, Argentina