(Reuters) - A report into sexual abuse of Dutch minors by Roman Catholic priests showed the Netherlands ranked second only to Ireland in the known extent of the scandals rocking the Church in Europe.
Here are some details of the major developments in the Roman Catholic Church scandals in Europe this year.
— Aug 10 - A record 100,000 Austrians expected to leave the Catholic Church in 2010 because of sexual abuse scandals rocking the Church in Europe, a newspaper reports.
— June 28 - Pope Benedict rebukes Vienna Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn for accusing a senior Vatican official, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, of covering up sexual abuse cases.
— Sept 10 - Widespread child sexual abuse in Belgian Church drove at least 13 victims to suicide, a Church commission reports. Of the 475 cases it recorded, two-thirds of the victims were male, with boys aged about 12 most vulnerable.
— Sept 8 - Cardinal Godfried Danneels, who stepped down as Brussels archbishop in January, admits he made mistakes dealing with abuse cases. He came under heavy criticism after a tape of him urging a victim to keep quiet was published.
— June 24 - Police raid Church offices and Danneels’s flat and confiscate files and computers from panel probing abuse cases. The raid occurs during meeting of country’s bishops, who are held by police for nine hours. The Vatican sharply criticizes Belgian authorities for the raids.
— April 23 - Bruges Bishop Roger Vangheluwe resigns and goes into hiding after admitting he had sexually abused his own nephew for years.
— Sept 18 - Pope Benedict makes one of his strongest apologies to abuse victims while on state visit to Britain, expressing his deep sorrow to innocent victims of “these unspeakable crimes.”
— April 22 - Bishops in England and Wales apologize for abuse cases worldwide, saying “terrible crimes” had been committed and Church response has been mostly inadequate. The local Church had a series of scandals about a decade ago but introduced reforms since then.
— Dec 3 - Munich archdiocese inquiry reports that at least 159 priests were involved in or suspected of sexual abuse cases from 1945 to 2009 and 26 had been tried and found guilty. It says there were probably more cases that had been hushed up or whose files had been destroyed.
— Sept 23 - Catholic bishops agree to compensate victims of clerical sexual abuse.
— Aug 31 - The German Church unveils new, tougher guidelines on dealing with sexual abuse of minors, obliging church authorities to report suspected cases to police.
— June 24 - Former Augsburg Bishop Walter Mixa gives up his fight to be reinstated after resigning in April amid allegations of physical abuse of minors, homosexual advances to seminarians and misusing Church funds. Mixa accuses fellow bishops of tricking the Vatican into accepting his initial resignation.
— May 27 - Jesuit investigation cites 205 allegations of sexual abuse against priests at Jesuit schools in Germany, revealing decades of systematic abuse and cover-ups by the order.
— April 12 - Church report says hundreds of minors were physically abused and some sexually abused at Ettal monastery school in Bavaria over several decades up until about 1990.
— March 17 - German Chancellor Angela Merkel demands “truth and clarity” about clerical sexual abuse but says any official inquiry should not be limited to the Catholic Church.
— March 12 - Munich archdiocese says Pope Benedict, when he was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and archbishop of the Bavarian city, approved therapy for pedophile priest but did not know he was later transferred to parishes where he continued to sexually abuse minors. U.S. media report on the case says the future pope must have known these details about the case.
— March 9 - Pope Benedict’s priest brother Georg admits to administering corporal punishment to members of his boys choir in Regensburg but denies this was physical abuse.
— Feb 2 - The Jesuit order reports 25 cases of sexual abuse of pupils by priests at three boarding schools between 1975 and 1984, with most cases in Berlin.
— May 31 - The Vatican names two cardinals and three archbishops from England, the United States and Canada to lead its inquiry into sexual abuse by clergy in Ireland.
— March 24 - Pope Benedict accepts the resignation of Bishop John Magee of Cloyne, accused of mishandling reports of sexual abuse in his diocese. He later accepts the resignation of two other Irish bishops.
— March 20 - In rare letter to Ireland’s Catholics, the pope tells abuse victims he felt “shame and remorse” over the scandals and announces an official Vatican probe of Irish dioceses, seminaries and religious orders.
— Feb 16 - Pope Benedict holds crisis talks with 24 Irish bishops at the Vatican after two government-commissioned reports in 2009 exposed widespread physical and sexual abuse of minors in Church-run institutions and systematic cover-ups by the local hierarchy of abuse by priests.
— Feb 18 - Italy has had dozens of cases of clerical sexual abuse involving about 80 priests over the past decade, a priest who runs an anti-pedophilia organization tells Vatican Radio.
— April 18 - Pope Benedict prays and cries with eight Maltese sexual abuse victims during his first meeting with victims in Europe.
— Dec 9 - A Church-commissioned report said 1,975 people had declared themselves victims of sexual and physical abuse while minors in the care of the Dutch Church and criticized the Church for not responding to the scandals more promptly.
— Nov 26 - The Salesian order of priests admitted to paying 16,000 euros in hush money in 2003 to a victim of sexual abuse by seven priests between 1948 to 1953.
— April 16 - The Rotterdam diocese reported a Dutch priest to the police for alleged sexual abuse and barred him from ministry, making him the fourth to be suspended this year.
— March 9 - The Dutch Church launched an independent commission to study reports of alleged sexual abuses by priests.
— March 2 - Dozens of Dutch Catholics have come forward to report sexual abuses by priests, encouraged by media reports about abuse by priests from the Salesian order decades ago.
— April 9 - The Church in Norway reported four cases of sexual abuse of minors by priests and revealed that a bishop who resigned in 2009 did so after abusing an altar boy.
— June 2 - Swiss bishops say they received reports between January and May of 72 perpetrators abusing 104 victims, up from 14 perpetrators and 15 victims in 2009.
Sources: Reuters, Munich archdiocese
Writing by Tom Heneghan and David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit