On Easter Monday, Cardinal Wim Eijk revealed the first memorial for victims of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. The memorial, which is a depiction of two children playing with Our Lady standing protectively behind them, stands in front of the church of Our Lady in Hengelo. Artist Frans Houben, pictured at left with the cardinal and parish priest Father Koos Smits, was himself abused as a child. About his design, he said earlier: “Mary, who is the protector of the Church, with all her love, embracing children. That is my message: whether you’re a priest, a swimming instructor or you run a creche for children: keep your paws of the children.”
The idea for the memorial came from the parish of Our Lady, where there was a desire to pay attention to people who have been unjustly treated. Cardinal Eijk declared that he considers this as an important part of the apologies the Church needs to make to the victims.”It is a sign that will stand in front of this church for a very long time, and which indicates that the faith community is committed to the victims,” he said.
Photo credit: Frans Nikkels/Twentsche Courant Tubantia