The Catholic bishop of Roermond has suggested a Limburg church official who was murdered in China in 1937 could be declared the patron saint of sexual abuse victims.
Schraven, who was bishop of Zhengding at the time, refused to hand
several hundred Chinese women over to the Japanese occupiers to work as
The women were under the protection of the Catholic
authorities at the time. The Japanese authorities left the women alone
but Schraven and eight other Catholics were then executed.
weekend, the Dutch Catholic church's documentation on Schraven was taken
to the Vatican where pope Francis will decide if he should be
Roermond bishop Franz Wiertz, who supports the
beatification drive, suggested in a sermon on Friday that Schraven could
eventually become the patron saint of abuse victims.
referred to the number of cases of sexual abuse within the church which
have come to light in recent years and said Schraven was an example to
'Bishop Schraven showed us that the church always needs
people who follow the right road, who condemn abuse and who are willing
to give up their own lives if necessary,' he said.
Francis rules that bishop Schraven died as a martyr he can be beatified
without the need for any miracles. Martyrs are required to have one
rather than two miracles to their name to reach full sainthood.
Catholicism, beatification is the third of the four steps in the
process of becoming a saint. A person who is beatified is given the
title ‘blessed’ and is said to have the capacity to intercede on behalf
of individuals who pray in his or her name.