gb fr
For a Lady Pope

Paedophilia in the Church. The facts. In brief.

It was in 1985, in the United States, that the first report revealing a series of cases of paedophilia was published. It had been written by a Catholic priest, Th. P. Doyle, following several complaints. The bishops decided to react independently within their own dioceses. Eight years later a commission published certain rules on the future selection of candidates for the priesthood.

In 1995, several affairs hit the headlines in Europe. One of them was of a cardinal accused of sexual abuse in Austria. The Cardinal Angelo Sodano of the curia fought against an inquiry into his behaviour.

In the beginning of the 21st century, several scandals erupted in dioceses throughout the United States – in Boston, Oregon and in New York. In December 2002, the Archduke of Boston resigned. A true cataclysm. A report by John Jay cited almost 4500 priests as having been accused of sexual abuse towards minors during the previous 50 years, in other words 4% of the clergy. The total number of victims is estimated to be around 11,000. We usually speak here about paedophilia but it is often the case that the priests abused young boys aged between 14 and 17 years old (such is the case in the States), cases of ephebophilia rather than paedophilia.

The damages amount to 2 billion dollars, a complete financial haemorrhage for the Catholic Church.

More recently still, in 2011, the Archbishop of Philadelphia announced in a press communiqué that he had suspended 21 priests, all suspected of having committed acts of paedophilia.

In Canada, it was the children of American Indians who were abused whilst placed in religious boarding schools. By the end of 2008, 79 million Canadian dollars had been paid out in compensation to the victims.

In Ireland, the number of cases of priests accused of paedophilia took on alarming proportions. A report by judge Sean Ryan revealed that thousands of children had suffered abuse. Incredibly, there are said to be more than 14,500 victims, 12,000 of whom have been compensated by the Irish state to the sum of 1 billion dollars. The Church will be asked to contribute to the cost of these damages. In November 2009, a report by Yvonne Murphy condemned the attitude shown by the bishops who had covered up the abuse committed by the priests. Resignations followed: the Bishop of Limerick, the Bishop of Cloyne and an old auxiliary Bishop of Dublin. In March 2010, six bishops handed in their resignation. The Pope accepted three of them.

Complaints were heard in Germany, with the number of people thought to have been abused reaching 2,500. A fund has been set up to compensate the victims.

In Australia, 107 members of the clergy have been sentenced for having committed agressive sexual acts.

In France, thirty or so priests have been imprisoned.

In Belgium a commission states that almost 500 victims have come forward. Thirteen people have commmitted suicide.

In Netherlands, the Dutch Conference of Bishops opened In March 2010 an independent investigation to ascertain how much child abuse occurred in the various Catholic schools where cases had been reported. According to the independent investigation commission, tens of thousands of minors” (between 10.000 and 20.000 minors) were sexually abused by clerics of the Dutch Catholic Church between 1945 and 2010. Based on 1,759 reports, the commission was able to find 800 sexual abusers who work or have worked for the bishops. Of these, at least 105 are still living,” the report maintains 800 alleged abusers identified.

An  article of the «NRC Handelsblad», also in Netherlands, announced in mars 2012 that at least 10 teenage boys or young men under the age of 21 were castrated “to get rid of homosexuality” while in the care of the Dutch Roman Catholic Church in the 1950s.


It is true that the majority of these acts of pedeophilia date back to between 1950-1980. Nonetheless thousands of lives have been destroyed. 

Other articles

Is Christianity a religion of peace?

In a world where physical or moral violence is common and where religions are pointing the finger, we are entitled to ask whether Christianity is a source of peace or of savagery.

2014 Synod on the Family

Many of the faithful wonder if the Church is ready to change its pastoral activities and therefore its doctrine on the family. The expected points of debate were essentially the Church’s position on the banning of contraception, the fate of the divorced who later remarry, the practice of in-vitro fertilization, couples living together outside marriage, homosexuality ...

Is the church able to adapt to the ideas of its time

When looking at the history of the Church over the past two centuries, everyone is entitled to ask him or herself whether or not the Church can cope with the changes in attitudes and whether or not it can at least go some way to changing or developing its doctrine.

Pope Francis speaks of women

The Church, rather than being a beacon in the field of women's rights, has extinguished the light. Let’s hope that Pope Francis can reverse the trend and embrace many female collaborators

The true reasons for prohibiting the ordination of women

Is it really acceptable that what caused the separation of women from worship at the time of Jesus Christ - periodic impurity - can still have an influence in today’s 21st century? The fact that the Catholic Church continues to uphold such a thesis is quite simply unbelievable.

The nuns rebellion

The nuns are rebelling and it will hurt. Nothing is more rebellious than a woman. They are determined to have the right to speak. How far will it go?

A hundred days of Pope Francis

After one hundred days, we should have an idea of his main principles, even more so because, at his age, we can imagine that his philosophy, if not to say his religion, is deeply founded and therefore he knows exactly in what direction he wants to go

. What the majority of Catholics expect from Pope Francis

What they want to see is developments throughout the whole Church.

Aids and immanent justice (poetic justice)

Archibischop of Belgium (machelen-Brussels) compares the disaese to the environmental disasters caused by humans. "When you mistreat the environment, it finally ends up by mistreating you. And when you mistreat human love, it might just look for revenge,” he said.

Paedophilia within the Belgian Catholic Church

Summarising the evolution of the cases of paedophilia in the Belgian Catholic Church is not easy, as so many events have taken place over the past few years. We will therefore simply underline the main events. The most complete history of events can be found in the parliamentary committee’s report,, which treated the subject. We have drawn heavily on this resource. Various commissions are often referred to when talking about paedophilia within the Belgian Catholic Church. There were two internal commissions that were set up by the Church, one following the other. The first was the Halberghe Commission (2000 - February 2009) and the second, the Adriaenssens Commission (March – June 2010). Furthermore, the Parliamentary Commission, referred to above, worked from October 28th 2010 to March 31st 2011.


You must be logged in to leave a reply. Login »