Sex abuse scandal in the Netherlands brings requiem for Dutch Catholicism

Commentary

Last Friday, Archbishop of Utrecht Wim Eijk held a press conference to apologize for the abuse of tens of thousands of children in Catholics institutions in the Netherlands. The abuse was documented in a report that covered the year 1945 onward. Since the story is now a familiar one, the report has merited mention but little sustained attention.

But for some Catholics of my generation, the press conference was a coda, a requiem of sorts. Back in the '70s, Dutch Catholicism represented an open and engaged Catholicism. It embodied a vision of what Catholicism could become in the wake of the reforms of the Second Vatican Council.