Three days ago, I wrote about a planned protest by victims of sexual abuse during or at the Mass that several Dutch bishops would be celebrating in memory of Blessed Pope John Paul II. That Mass took place yesterday, and while there was a small and silent protest outside Hengelo’s Basilica of St. Lambert, no interruption of the Mass took place. Actually, quite the contrary of such a misplaced and ineffective protest happened.
Via the local parish council Archbishop Eijk extended an invitation to the group, to meet with him over a cup of coffee after the Mass. This is the first widely-reported meeting of victims with one or more bishops (although, it must be said, several bishops have met with victims in private over the past months). The invitation was enthusiastically accepted by Mr. Frank Oude Geerdink, who had organised the protest.
To local newspaper Tubantia, Archbishop Eijk said,”When victims come forward, bishops and superiors of orders and congregations will enter into the conversation.” Yesterday, he showed that these are not mere words. Yesterday’s meeting was an initial one, but the archbishop invited Mr. Oude Geerdink also for a follow-up.
In the end, Catholics must come together to resolve the abuse crisis. This is a very encouraging first step.
Photo credit: Theo Oude Spraaksté