The most damning indictment against a Dutch bishop yet

Bishop Gijsen in front of the cathedral of Reykjavik, where he was bishop from 1996 to 2007

In September of last year I wrote about an abuse complaint lodged against Bishop Jo Gijsen, emeritus of Roermond and Reykjavik. The complaint was about the future bishop having spied upon a student at Rolduc seminary while the latter masturbated in bed, sometimes between 1959 and 1961. Msgr. Gijsen continues to deny that anything untoward happened, saying last year, in response to the accusation: “If it is true what is being said, it must be a case of mistaken identity. I could not have been that, because I wasn’t in the situation. That they may know me could be true, because I was a teacher. But I could not have done that.”

The complaints commission of the Catholic Church, working to get to the truth in numerous abuse cases, has now deemed otherwise. It considers the story of the former student “credible and honest”, NRC reports today. But the commission then continues with deciding the complaint inadmissible, since it does not deal with sexual abuse per se. The student did not forced to masturbate, and neither did it happen in a situation where one person was dependent on the other.

It would seem that the investigation of this claim halted at the stadium of deciding its believability. Msgr. Gijsen claims that the facts reported are not true. Since the complaints commission makes no judgement on that, we must be extremely careful in deciding what is and is not true here. But what remains is a serious indictment of the behaviour of a cleric in a time when much of the abuse that services now took place.

Who knows, maybe Bishop Gijsen is right in claiming that the complaint is based on things that never happened or involved someone else altogether. What we do know is that the complains had been deemed believable, and that Bishop Gijsen, if he did it, greatly overstepped the boundaries of propriety, to paraphrase the NRC report.

In September 2010, when the claim first surfaced, the Diocese of Roermond let it be known that it had passed the matter on to the public prosecutor. It is unknown what, if anything, they are doing, or will do, with it.

A second complaint against Bishop Gijsen is still being investigated.

Photo credit: Gerard Klaasen/RKK

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I'm a 36-year-old lay Catholic from the diocese of Groningen-Leeuwarden. I write about the Catholic Church in the Netherlands. I not only enjoy bringing selected developments to the attention of readers, but I also think that it is sometimes important to allow a wider audience to read about the state of the Church in the Netherlands. That's why a fair number of posts about that topic will be translations of Dutch articles, episcopal writings and whatever else.

3 thoughts on “The most damning indictment against a Dutch bishop yet”

  1. It is amazing the Commission deems these claims believable in spite of Msgr. Gijsen’s denial and the absence of any supporting evidence.

  2. His Excellency, when he was still the bishop of Roermond, effectively separated himself from the “de facto” schism of the Dutch Episcopal Conference when he established his own seminary in rejection of Vatican II’s Neo-Catholic clerical training (in line with the Ecumenical [dis-]orientation of the Conciliar “New Ecclesial reality” or the “Novus Ordo”). The sex-abuse complaint could only indicate the ‘demolition job’ instigated by what the late renowned exorcist, Vatican ‘insider’ and author, Fr. Malachi Martin, S.J., referred to as the “element… called the superforce of the anti-Church… lodged in the Vatican” (cf., commentary on our post “Upheaval”) – those modern “Judaizers”, “secretly entered in… ungodly men, turning the grace of our Lord God into riotousness” (Jude 1.4), who carried out orders of “the Synagogue of Satan” (Apoc. 2.9; 3.9) to “work in a still more efficient way for the disintegration of the [Catholic] Church, by creating scandals within her” (the Jewish B’nai-B’rith, directors of the international Freemasonry, in “The London Catholic Gazette,” February 1936).

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