Trouble avoided as Cardinal Eijk takes the time for liturgy

Tejo van der Meulen

It’s a bit late, but I wanted to share it anyway, since I’ve written about the whole affair before. In the Archdiocese of Utrecht, the question of pastoral worker Tejo van der Meulen, who was initially to be let go from the parish of St. John the Baptist for several liturgical transgressions, can now stay on in his functions.

Cardinal Eijk, the archbishop, has agreed to this after Mr. van der Meulen and Father Gerard Griffioen, the parish priest, agreed to publically apologise and state their intentions to strictly adhere to the liturgical prescriptions of the celebration of the Mass. Both men did so via the parish website.

Although the two statements closely follow the wording of the conditions under which the archdiocese would refrain from insisting on the firing of Mr. van der Meulen, and are therefore somewhat overly clinical and stern, they get the message across. Mr. van der Meulen and, because his responsibility as parish priest, Fr Griffioen, “caused scandal and seriously disrupted the liturgical order of the Church”. Both men have now expressed their regrets and intention to avoid doing so in the future.

With these developments, which followed renewed discussion between the archdiocese and the parish, a lawsuit is avoided.

A pleasant surprise was the fact that, in the media, Cardinal Eijk was not consistently depicted as a tyrant in this case. That has been different in the past. A bishop has the duty to oversee the proceedings, including the liturgical ones, in his diocese. Anyway with a pastoral or liturgical mission in that diocese has the duty to make sure that the performance of these duties is in line with the teachings of the Church. When that, for whatever reason, does not happen, the bishop must act. It seems that now, after four years in Utrecht, Cardinal Eijk is about able to focus his attention on the liturgy as it is celebrated in the archdiocese.