Mass exodus from the Catholic Church in Denmark due to media reports of abuse of children by priests
The Copenhagen Post online
Monday 03 May 2010
The Catholic Church in Denmark typically experiences a few dozen people leaving its ranks annually. But in the last six weeks, between 80 and 90 church members have left the organisation following the uncovering of several abuse cases.
‘Members have opted out because they are upset by the current situation and don’t wish to be identified with it,’ said church spokesman Niels Engelbrecht to Berlingske Tidende newspaper.
According to Fr. Engelbrecht between 60 and 70 people drop out of the church on average each year, and the Danish Catholic Church is expecting that number to double in the wake of the abuse scandal, which first came to light in March.
Since then, the church has received 27 reports of sexual assaults, the details of which have been forwarded to the police.
‘It’s a large number of dropouts for as small a community as the Catholic Church is in Denmark. But as there’s about 35,000 members overall, the Church will be able to handle it,’ said professor emeritus and Catholicism expert Peder Nørgaard-Højen.