Church abuse: 'Wir haben es nicht gewusst'Simonis is lying, of course.
The Catholic church in the Netherlands was simply unaware about the abuse of children in its care, cardinal Ad Simonis told a tv show on Tuesday night.
'Wir haben es nicht gewusst, (we did not know)' the cardinal said. 'It is a loaded term, but it is true.'
The phrase was used by Germans after the Second World War as the horror of the death camps unfolded.
Many bishops in the 1950s, 60s and 70s did not know about the abuse, Simonis said. He himself was a bishop in various places for 38 years.
The number of abuse claims made to the church organisation Hulp & Recht has now reached over 1,100.
'A bishop does not have direct say over religious orders and congregations, so a lot remains hidden from him,' the cardinal told tv talk show Pauw & Witteman.
The cardinal said there is no direct link between the abuse and celibacy laws for Catholic priests. 'It can be connected to poor preparation for celibacy and poor choice of candidates,' he said.
More details on Dutch victims of abuse within the church.