Abuse in or surrounding the Catholic Church in Luxembourg

“Hereby I declare that the work presented here is my own”

Eric De Oliveira

11th April 2016

“The Church turned this island [Ireland] into a concentration camp where they could control everything. … And the control was really all about sex. … It’s not difficult to understand how the whole system became riddled with what we now call a scandal but in fact was a complete culture”

Benedictine monk Dom Mark Patrick Hederman, OSB



Part 1: What happened?

Part 2: Why did nobody intervene

Part 3: How did the public reacted after the scale of the abuse was revealed?



Part 1

What happened

What is the extend of the abuse?

According to the final report by the « Hotline Cathol » 109 people reported abuse in or surrounding the Catholic Church in Luxembourg. Of the 109 people 43 were female and 64 were male. Most victims (62%) were kids between 8 and 12 years old at the time of the abuse. The abuse happened mostly in boarding schools, orphan homes (combined 46%) and schools (32%). Other places were abuse took place were the church and the vicarage.

In Ireland, the picture is similar, the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse (CICA) heard during its investigation 413 male and 378 female witnesses. All the abuse reported by the CICA took place in schools, boarding schools and orphan homes.

Where did the abuse take place?

Abuse was an integral part of the daily life of children who were in an institution of the Catholic Church. Physical and emotional abuse took place in schools, boarding schools, orphanages, churches, parishes, the homes and private rooms of clergy and lay care staff, infirmaries, refectories, dormitories, classrooms, showers, toilets, kitchens, shops, farmyards, playgrounds. Staff did not care where they shamed their victims or where they executed so-called “punishments”, as there was no external supervision.

What were the forms of abuse suffered by the victims?

The Irish CICA divided the abuse suffered by the victims into five major categories.

Physical abuse

The wilful, reckless or negligent infliction of physical injury on, or failure to prevent such injury to, the child. –The Commission

The Commission recorded 857 cases of physical abuse. Witnesses described daily, casual and random physical abuse as normal and often wished to report only the times when the frequency and severity of the abuse was such that they were injured or feared for their lives. They also described an environment of pervasive fear in the Schools and provided consistent reports of generally not knowing why they were beaten.

According to the Commission, the forms of physical abuse reported included punching, flogging, assault and bodily attacks, hitting with the hand, kicking, ear and hair pulling, head shaving, beating on the soles of the feet, burning, scalding, stabbing, severe beatings with or without clothes, being made to kneel and stand in fixed positions for lengthy periods, being made to sleep outside overnight, being forced into cold or excessively hot baths and showers, being hosed down with cold water before being beaten, being beaten while hanging from hooks on the wall, being set upon by dogs, being force fed, having their heads being knocked against walls, desks and windows, being restrained in order to be beaten, physical assaults by more than one person, having objects thrown at them, and having to perform task putting them in risk of harm or death.

Bodily assault by punching, hitting and kicking was frequently reported. A variety of implements were used to beat and physically abuse the residents. The most notable implement was the “leather”, it is a leather strap described about 5 centimeters wide and 1 centimeter thick. A number of witnesses reported that some leather straps contained metal or coins to add weight. Another notable implement mostly used with female victims was some type of a wooden stick.

It was described by witnesses that they were being beaten and otherwise physically abused for many reasons and for no reason at all, which created an environment of pervasive fear. They described physical abuse in the context of being punished for some misdemeanour, real or perceived, or for simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. “No reason needed, I was hit because I could be hit.” Victims who had little to no family contact, those who were described as orphans, were reported to be most vulnerable to harsh physical discipline.

In every reported institution in Luxembourg and Ireland bed-wetting, was a cause for punishment. The punishments ranged from being hit on the hands to being flogged naked in front of others. This led to punishment becoming a daily ritual for many witnesses. Further it was frequently reported that residents who wet their bed were made to sleep in either a separate dormitory or in a separate section of the main dormitory. It is notable that today there is scientific consensus that punishing a child for bed-wetting will frequently make the problem worse. Doctors describe a downward cycle where a child punished for bedwetting feels shame and a loss of self-confidence. This can cause increased bedwetting incidents, leading to more punishment and shaming.

Random beatings at night were also reported. It has been reported that night watchmen and religious staff patrolled the dormitories during the night, checking that resident lay in a particular way in their beds. Witnesses delivered accounts of being beaten if found lying with their hands under the bedclothes, others if they did not have their arms crossed over their chest.

Some witnesses were beaten for having soiled sheets or pants and for seeking sanitary protection when menstruating. They described being fearful of asking for sanitary protection. This fear and the lack of toilet paper and washing facilities inevitably lead to clothes and sheets being soiled.

Sexual abuse

The use of the child by a person for sexual arousal or sexual gratification of that person or another person. –The Commission

The CICA collected 253 reports of sexual abuse by male witnesses and 127 reports of sexual abuse by female witnesses. The sexual abuse ranged from contact sexual abuse including rape to non-contact sexual abuse such as enforced nakedness and voyeurism.

Witnesses reported to the Commission a variety of forms of sexual abuse, including: inspection of genitalia, kissing, fondling of genitalia, forced masturbation of, and by, an abuser, digital penetration, penetration by objects, oral, vaginal, and anal rape and attempted rape, by individuals and groups. Witnesses also reported several forms of non-contact sexual abuse including detailed interrogation about sexual activity, indecent exposure, inappropriate sexual talk, voyeurism, and forced public nudity. Some witnesses gave accounts of isolated incidents of sexual abuse and others reported being sexually abused on many occasions, over a period of months or years.

Witnesses explained that sexual abuse was frequently preceded by physical violence that they thought was to intimidate them or that sexual abuse was preceded by periods of special attention and friendly encounters with the abusers, which was special as many of them experienced no other kindness or affection.

Victims who had no family contact were the most common victims of sexual abuse, as they had nobody to turn to and tell. Witnesses described that they considered themselves lucky not to be selected by the abusers.

Many accounts describe scenes where the victims were being beaten while their abusers raped. The physical abuse during the sexual abuse served two functions, it forced the victims to accept the sexual assault and it secured that the witness stayed silent. Further the victims were threatened to keep silent. There were also accounts of victims being given inducements or bribes in return for their compliance or silence. Those included sweets, money, comic books, fruits, extra food, and extra blankets. Further the victims of sexual abuse would often be described as “Specials” by staff members and were protected from physical abuse. These special treatments lead to the victim’s isolation from their peers, who did not understand the cost for these privileges.

Witnesses reported staff members staring at residents as they showered and examining their genitals and other body parts. Witnesses also reported cases were Brothers masturbated while watching residents shower.

There were reports of victims being sexually abused by co-residents, in both mixed and segregated schools. The abusers were mostly older co-residents who were placed in a position of authority by staff and threatened to hurt their victims if they did not comply.

Between some older co-residents, it was reported that the sexual abuse progressed to become consensual, as there was minimal supervision in the dormitories of some institutions.

Witnesses reported that they were sexually abused by family members during week-ends and holiday and by foster families during their placements. It was reported that victims were sent home to their families, despite a known history of sexual violence and incest. Another witness reported being fondled and otherwise sexually abused by her grandfather when on holiday leave; she reported another family member was aware of the abuse at the time.

Members of the general public were identified as having sexually abused and raped several victims. This abuse mostly occurred to a lack of supervision by staff when the residents were in contact with visitors, service workers, drivers, medical personnel and ex-residents.


Failure to care for the child which results, or could reasonably be expected to result, in serious impairment of the physical or mental health or development of the child or serious adverse effects on his or her behaviour or welfare. –The Commission

The CICA recorded 783 reports of neglect. The areas of neglect included food, clothing, heat, hygiene, bedding, healthcare, education, supervision and preparation for discharge.

Residents reported that the food provided to them was of very poor quality and insufficient quantity. The standard diet described by was porridge, bread and boiled potatoes with vegetables. Meat and fish were only served on occasionally. Hunger and thirst was consistently reported among witnesses. It was widely reported that poor supervision resulted in older residents taking food from younger and weaker residents. In the same time, it was reported that if residents were disgusted by the food served they were forced to eat, even if they puked they were sometimes forced to eat the vomit. Some witnesses stated drinking form a toilet bowl which was their only access to water, due to a lack of drinking water. It was reported that the residents were given nothing to drink except what was provided with the meals.

Witnesses reported poor hygiene facilities, some were reported to have regular bathtubs that were shared by more than one person at a times by groups in the same water. In contrast, in some school’s residents had to wear a chemise when bathing to guard their modesty. Bathing took place, varying form institution to institution, once a month usually at the same time when clean underwear was distributed. In institutions with shower facilities the water was reported to be either freezing or scalding hot and strict discipline was enforced if residents tried to evade the extreme water temperatures. Most witnesses had no individual toiletries and had to share them with others including toothbrushes, toothpaste and soap.

Female witnesses reported that sanitary products for managing menstruation were non-existent and they had to use newspapers and other substitutes. In places were sanitary towels were provided they were often of insufficient quantity and residents had to hand-wash their own sanitary cloths and in some places, they also had to hand-wash the nun’s sanitary towels. Witnesses stated that the poor facilities for bathing and personal care led to considerable discomfort, chapped skin, rashes, and strong personal odours.

The quality of bedding was reported as poor, most witnesses being cold in bed.

Emotional abuse

Any other act or omission towards the child which results, or could reasonably be expected to result, in serious impairment of the physical or mental health or development of the child or serious adverse effects on his or her behaviour or welfare.

–The Commission

The CICA collected 691 accounts of emotional abuse. It was described a general climate dominated by fear, humiliation, loneliness and the absence of affection. Witnesses reported being humiliated in many ways, also in the presence of others. The daily threat of being physically and otherwise abused and seeing others being abused strongly contributed to the general climate of fear. Great distress was caused by constant rejection, hostility and criticism of staff. For many the isolation from their family was traumatic.

The admission for many witnesses involved separation from their parents and siblings, this lead to deprivation of affection. Staff often withheld information about their parents and family for various reasons. Witnesses also stated that there was a general believe that there was nobody who cared about them.

Being verbally abused by staff was accounted as a feature of everyday life, often in association with physical abuse or as part of the general communication pattern. Name-calling by lay and religious staff was reported as a common occurrence and included: devil’s handmaid, tar babies, Baluba, trash, dirty stinking trollop, illegitimate, slut, sinners, bastards, idiot, liar, wet the bed, and street kids.

Witnesses also described being forced to carry out tasks that humiliated themselves and others. Being made to kneel in underpants in the yard for hours and being forced to run into a wall and injure themselves in front of others. Others reported that they were in constant fear for their own or others safety. A witness who had been sexually abused within her family described the Resident Manager of the School where she was placed when she was 10 years old telling her co-residents that she was ‘morally dirty’ and that they were not to speak or play with her.

Further it was reported that residents were ridiculed about their parents and families often in public while being abused. Sons of lone mothers were particular targets for such abuse, being told that their mothers were sinners, slags, whores who did not want to care for them. Others were being constantly told that their parents were alcoholics, prostitutes, or no good. Some reported being verbally abused because of their racial background. A black witness reported being called Baluba, locked up in a closet and beat with a leather strap every time Irish soldiers were attacked in the Congo.

Bullying by co-residents with encouragement from staff was reported to be a regular feature. The playgrounds and yards were described as frightening places by many witnesses who were exposed to bullying by older residents. Witnesses reported a practice of staff punishing individual residents by sending them out to the yard to be kicked and otherwise assaulted by their peers.

Punitive aspects of religion were emphasised. Puberty and menstruation provided the context for abuse based on perceived religious doctrine. One witness reported that a nun burned her with a hot poker to show her how the fires of hell felt. Residents who were left-handed or had red hair had it particularly hard because they were stigmatised and persecuted by certain nuns who believed that they were the hand of the devil.

Residents reported that living in a regimented system contributed to a sense of not having an individual identity. Some reported staff would use an allocated number instead of their names, daily activities were reigned by bells and whistles. Spending most of their childhood in such institutions without family contact, witnesses described a sense of being nobody. Additionally, sibling relationships were often denied even if they were in the same institution. Further it was reported being discharged without any information regarding their date and place of birth. Some witnesses reported having been unable to apply for a passport because they could not obtain a birth certificate.

Part 2

Why did nobody intervene?

How could the abuse happen?

Uncontrolled and absolute power of the Catholic Church

The Catholic Church was a powerful force in Ireland, it emerged after the Irish famine and has continued to exert great amount of influence in Irish politics and society. During the partition of Ireland in 1922, 92,6% of the population of the Irish Free State were Catholic. As of 2011 still 84,2% of all citizens of the Republic of Ireland identified themselves as Catholics.

This lead the Church to have a significant amount of influence on public opinion. After Catholics were emancipated in 1829, the Church had a resurgence until the disestablishment of the Church of Ireland in 1871. In 1831, the Catholic Church, trough the Irish Education Act by Lord Stanley, wrestled control of the national primary school system from the state.

Over decades the Church continued to have great influence in Ireland. In 1932, Éamon de Valera, the head of the Fianna Fail government, publicly declared his intention to govern “in accordance with the principles enunciated in the encyclicals pf Pope Pius XI on the Social Order.” He also shared drafts of the 1937 Catholic hierarchy, to ensure that the final document was fully in accordance with Catholic teachings. The constitution, while granting freedom of religion, recognized the “special position” of the Catholic Church in Irish Society, stopping just short of declaring Catholicism a “National” religion.

This bond was nowhere more evident than in matters of public morality and social welfare. In fact, the state ceded huge areas of social policies to the Church. This lead to the vast majority of Ireland’s hospitals, schools, asylums, orphanages, and welfare agencies to be controlled by the Church. Consequently, the State was completely depended from the Church in these areas of public policy. The Church also did everything in its power to maintain the status-quo, including provoking major political crisis. In July 1950, the government proposed the Mother and Child Scheme, a program providing free healthcare for mothers and their children up to the age of 16, after the model of the National Health Service in the United Kingdom. The opposition of the church to such a program, deemed “communist” and against its teachings lead to a governmental crisis with the resignation of the An tAire Sláinte (Minister for Health), resulting in the break of the coalition and a general election being called in June 1951.

The control of the education system gave the Church the power to staff the various institution with religious staff, paid by the government and to make religious proselytization a major element. The curriculum was largely influenced by religious doctrine and subjects were often approached from a religious standpoint. This gave the Church the ability to influence the moral ideals of the students and make them even more convinced Catholics. The introduction of a free public secondary school service in 1968 was opposed by the church, mainly because until now the hierarchy had the monopoly on secondary education. Even as of today 97% of all state-funded primary schools are under church control. The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child in Geneva asked Ireland’s minister for children, James Reilly, to explain the continuation of preferential access to state-funded schools on the basis of religion. He said that the laws probably needed to change, but noted it may take a referendum because the Irish constitution gives protections to religious institutions.

Following the Irish independence in 1922, Church influence on morality grew and subsequently lead to the ban of divorce allowing remarriage and the sale artificial contraception in 1924. In 1983, an amendment to the constitution was introduced the constitutional prohibition of abortion, which was supported by the Church, and is still in place. However, in June 1996, the Church failed to influence the referendum leading to the removal of the constitutional article banning divorce. The same goes for the 2015 referendum to legalize Same-sex marriage.

In Luxembourg, there are no reliable indicators to determine how many people see themselves as Catholics, as the government is not allowed to record information about its citizen’s religious affiliation. Social policies were more progressive than in Ireland but still overall conservative. The Church held a great amount of public influence, also in politics were Luxembourg was ruled from 1926 to 2013 by the Christian Social People’s Party with the only exception being the Thorn government from 1974 to 1979. As Church and State were never separated in Luxembourg, there was strong collusion of clerical and governmental powers mainly in ceremonial roles.

But the Church did not only hold a great amount of influence on a national level but also in local communities through its priests. As I was told by a priest, the priest, was together with the local teacher, one of the most influential and respected position a person could hold in the community. They keep order in the communities some trough their preaching others trough force.

Further the largest newspaper in Luxembourg, the Luxemburger Wort, is edited by the Editions Saint-Paul Luxembourg and owned by archbishopric and has a strong Catholic editorial line. The President of the board of directors is also traditionally the general vicar of the Archdiocese of Luxembourg. In notable involvement of the paper in the abuse scandal happened in 1869. Pierre Frieden, a priest from Maarnech, was accused of having sexually abused multiple young boys, after the priest fled to the United States and the other newspapers started picking up the story, the Wort was, as it says, “forced to react”. On the 13 July 1869, Abbé Nicolas Breisdorff, the editor-in-chief of the Luxembourger Wort, published a commentary on the first page, claiming that the priest was innocent and that he was a victim of gossip, it went on to publicly humiliate the victims and their families. It started by saying that they would have liked to keep silent about a regrettable incident which had taken place in Marnach in the last days, had no other newspapers spoken of it, and so brought the incident into the public. The article further claimed that the victims should feel honored that the priest even paid attention to them, as they had no religious education at all. The priest was later convicted in absence to life imprisonment with forced labor. This case was also famously included in one of the most famous Luxembourgish literary works, the Renert by Michel Rodange.

Zu Lëtzebreg ees hunn ech

De Rousekranz gefouert,

An d’Fraen hätte gär mech

Als Heeltem ugerouert.

Du maachen se mech Schéifer

Zu Maarnech op der Strooss,

Do huet dann dack e Lämmche

Mer Läif a Séil gelooss.

A wou ech konnt erdappen

E Bëtschel an em Eck,

Do goung ech mer et schnappen

A schlefen hannert d’Heck.

A koumen d’Baure kloen,

Da sot ech: ‘t war de Wollef,

A foung een un ze kräischen,

Dann hunn ech alt gehollef.

Op eemol sténken d’Lompen!

‘T war duerch en Heeschebouf,

Deen hat méng Grëff a Geste

Gesin, a munnech Prouf.

D’ganz Land war op de Bengen,

D’Néckloshaus an d’Geriichter,

D’Gendaarmen a vill Feeschter

An all déi schro Gesiichter.

Mäi Komper, kuckt, Här Pater,

E frumme brave Krëscht,

Dee koum mech avertéieren:

Du sinn ech dann entwëscht.

Drop huet fir mech mäi Komper

Séng Zeitonk voll geluen.

En hätt, mortjën, mam Schwieren

All Riichter bal bedruen.

E wosst der Saach mech schëlleg

A schwiert, ech wär et net;

Du koumen zwanzeg Lamer,

Déi zeien dat an dët.

Drop gouf ech du veruurtelt

In contumacium; ech duecht:

Dir kënnt mech klibbren,

Sobald ich wiedrum kumm.

De Renert, IV. Gesank, 61-100

Another reason why the public and especially the government did not react, was that the daily life inside these institutions was hidden from the public eye. Victims reported getting new or washed clothes the day the inspector came. In one school, there were even brand-new bathrooms that the residents were only allowed to use when an inspector or other dignitary came to visit. Residents form one institution reported that bedding was only changed in advance of inspections, which happened around once a year. Doctors carrying out medical inspections were also negligent and made so called troop inspections, where he walked past rows of students and asked if they were okay. Inspections were announced long beforehand, preventing them being effective, as staff had a long time to prepare the institutions for such inspections.

Part 3

How did the public reacted after the scale of the abuse was revealed?

How many cases went to trial?

Were there full-scale public investigations?

In Luxembourg, there was only one full-scale investigation that was carried out by the Archdiocese, it was based on the so-called Hotline Cathol, which was an independent contact point for people who were victims of physical and sexual abuse in the institutions of the Catholic Church. The hotline collected testimonies of victims, categorized and quantified the abuse suffered and reported to the Archbishop and the office of the prosecutor general. The investigation concluded by publishing a public report illustrating the abuse suffered by victims and by sending the report and a list of reported victims and perpetrators to the prosecutor general.

In Ireland, there where multiple full-scale investigations into the scandal.

In 2001, the Church established the Catholic Church Commission on Child Sexual Abuse. Its purpose was to investigate how the Church handled complaints about clerical abuse of minors have been handled. In June 2005, it published the McCullough Report on claims made by young seminars at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth.

In 2002, the BBC aired the documentary Suing the Pope by Colm O’Gorman. He highlights the case of Séan Fortune, a priest which abused countless teenage boys, including Colm O’Gorman. It states that the victims became so numerous, because of the Church’s practice of transferring Fortune from one parish to another without notifying the parishioners. The documentary lead to the resignation of the Bishop of Ferns, Brendan Comiskey, as he failed to deal properly with allegation that Fortune and others were sexually abusing children. The documentary further lead the Irish government to launch an official inquiry into the reports of clerical sexual abuse in the Diocese of Ferns. The Inquiry uncovered the extent and severity of the sexual abuse children suffered by priest protected by the Diocese of Ferns.

Also in 2002, the RTE published a primetime special about abuse in the archdiocese of Dublin. It showed how the then Archbishop of Dublin, now Cardinal Desmond Connell, covered up the cases of two priest which had sexually abused multiple boys. Then after investigators heard of the complaints, failed to give them information about these priests and then ultimately wrote a priest alleged of sexual abuse a clean reference to work with youth. The broadcast of the special lead to a sharp rise of public anger against the Catholic Church. As a reaction, the Irish government launched an investigation into the archdiocese of Dublin, it concluded with the Murphy Report, named after the judge who chaired the investigation. It concluded that Connells and his staffs many priority was to cover up cases in order to avoid a scandal. It also found out that the archdiocese concluded an insurance in 1987 to cover the legal costs and damages coming from child sex abuse litigation. The Report further blamed the Irish Police and the Director of Public Prosecutions for their failure to investigate.

In 2009, the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, published a detailed report, illustrating cases of emotional, physical and sexual abuse. It based its self on over 2000 testimonies from people who attended more than 200 Catholic-run schools from the 1930s to the 1990s. In response, the Irish police studied the report to see if it could provide new evidence for prosecuting clerics. The names of the abuser, however, were not included in the report, because of a right-to-privacy lawsuit filed by the Christian Brothers. The report also lead former Taoiseach Brian Cowen to apologise to victims for his failure to intervene. In reaction, the Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin slammed the parishes for concealing the child abuse for decades and the little compensation they offered victims until now. Cardinal Sean Brady said he was ashamed, humbled and repentant that people strayed that far from their Christian ideals and asked for forgiveness.

What were the consequences for the abusers?

The consequences for the abuser at the time were minimal, as said earlier many were transferred to different parishes and remained unpunished. This gave them a certain sense of impunity and lead them to continue. The very few cases that went to trial often ended with a life sentence for the abuser and a public outcry. But those cases were very rare as either the abuser managed to escape pre-trial or the case never made it to trial due to lack of evidence. Until the scandal start to develop in the early 2000s, there was virtually no chance for an abuser to be convicted and punished by a civil court as the church systematically tried to cover up every case to prevent exposure.

The cases after the revelations, were slightly different as the victims were seen as more credible and investigations became more in-depth as there was more public pressure especially from the civil society to uncover the full scale of the abuse. But at the same abusers supported by their attorneys maintained the same tactics to defend themselves in court, mainly denying all allegations or trying to blame the victims for what happened when denial is no longer possible. They do this by saying that the victims either wanted “it” or even aroused them so much that he had no other choice than to proceed.

A recent example in Luxembourg, which is still being tried by the court of appeals, is the Belair case. In this case, a priest from the parish of Belair, Luxembourg city was accused of raping and sexually abusing a 14 years old mass server during a pilgrimage in November 2008. Both parties reported that they shared a room for two nights and that the nights ended in mutually administered masturbation, but their accounts diverged on whether the acts were committed consensually and whether there was oral intercourse. The denial of the oral intercourse is key in this case as by Luxembourgish law the penetration happening during fellatio qualifies as rape and the assault claim already came under the statute of limitations. The priest said that the victim deliberately excited him over weeks, while the victim affirms that the priest made all advances. The attorney of the abuser, Me. Gaston Vogel, build his defence on discrediting the victim by saying that the victim initiated the acts and by making former classmates testify that the victim was “unpopular an untrustworthy”. The victim on the other side claimed that despite that he tolerated the actions, out of fear what else could happen, but he never consented to them or initiated them. He further explained that after the incident he suffered from Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and severe depression. The court also received around 50 letters certifying the priest a morally impeccable behaviour, the court however doubt these letters, as they were all based on the same model.

On the 20 December 2016, the district court acquitted the priest, based on an applicable pre-2011 law which set the age of consent to 14. This made that it was the prosecuting side’s responsibility to prove that the rape happened, this however was in the eyes of the court however not accomplished. In the eyes of the prosecutors however the boy had no choice but to endure what happened due to his age, the context and his timid character. Also in their eyes the priest abused his position of authority for his own gratification, therefore the prosecuting side decided to appeal.

What were the consequences for the church?

What were the consequences for the victims?





In the 1990s child abuse scandals rocked Catholic churches all over the world. This paper proposes to analyse what happened in the institutions run by the Church in Luxembourg and Ireland. It also examines why the people and the institutions to whom the victims had been entrusted failed to intervene. Finally, this paper will look at how society reacted once the scale of the abuse became apparent.

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