Deputy PM calls for reform of Catholic Church

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Deputy Prime Minister Maxime Verhagen says Dutch bishops should consider resigning in response to the damning Deetman report on child sex abuse at Catholic institutions.

Speaking on television, Mr Verhagen, himself a Catholic, said that trust in the Catholic Church had been profoundly damaged. He called for the Catholic Church to undertake a far-reaching reform in order to restore confidence in it. The Church, he added, ought to examine why just 200,000 of the country’s four million self-declared Catholics regularly attend mass.

Mr Verhagen said the Church child sex abuse scandal had shaken him so deeply that he could not refrain from speaking out in public.

Between 10,000 and 20,000 children suffered abuse at Catholic schools, seminaries and orphanages, the Deetman inquiry found. The report identifies 800 offenders.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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