RELIGION
01/07/2014 03:39 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Patron Saint Of Abuse Victims? Dutch Prelate Suggests Martyred Bishop Schraven

Coto Elizondo via Getty Images

Dutch Catholic Bishop Frans Schraven was burned alive during the Second Sino-Japanese War for protecting young Chinese girls from rape at the hands of invading Japanese troops. About 5,000 people sought refuge in Zhengding, China, including 200 young women, and Schraven put them under his protection as Bishop of Zhengding. Witnesses claimed that after refusing to give the girls to the soldiers, Schraven and eight other priests were handcuffed, doused with gasoline, and set alight.

In recognition of his actions, Bishop of Roermond Frans Wiertz has suggested that he "be considered as the patron saint of victims of sexual abuse." Wiertz has sent a formal dossier to the Vatican to request the beatification of Schraven, which is the step prior to official sainthood.

Wiertz mentioned the number of abuse cases within the church that have become a problem in recent years, and said in a sermon, "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," reported Dutch News.

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