At this time, I am sure the international community is only too painfully aware of the allegations of sexual abuse that are plaguing the Catholic Church on a global level. Although this information has only been public for the last five to ten years, the problem extends back far beyond that. There are several reasons why these incidents of sexual abuse have taken so long to come to the surface, but this post will only focus on one of those reasons as demonstrated by the Roman Catholic Church in the Netherlands.
In a recent New York Times article, Stephen Castle talks about how the churches in the Netherlands have used castrations as a way of hiding allegations of sexual abuse. It is important to note that these castrations are not of the priests who allegedly did the abuse, but rather of the people who reported the abuse. Specifically, in the case mentioned in the article, when the victim reported his abuse to the police he was sent to a Catholic Psychiatric Hospital. Soon after, he was sent to another hospital where he was castrated for speaking out. Despite all of this, ironically the priest who was accused of molesting the victim was investigated but no charges were brought. Sadly, this is not the only case as there are at least ten other reported cases in the past few years and who knows how many have gone unreported.
Setting aside the fact that the molester got away unscathed, the international community should be appalled by these allegation. Trying to hide allegations is one thing, though certainly unethical, but going to such a dramatic and brutal extent to deter and punish people who speak out against sexual abuse is beyond unethical: it as atrocious. Granted, there are only a few allegations of such practices occurring, but considering the extent of the injuries and the nature of the abuse this is something the international community really needs to take a strong stand on.