Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 09:02
Bishop Wiertz speaks about 'sinister sides' of the church
Bishop Frans Wiertz has made a statement from the Church in Maastricht about a recent scandal involving Jo Gijsen, Wiertz's predecessor, who abused two children. "Our church has also had it difficult to face up to the faults that are the result of the actions of her members. We have in The Netherlands and our bishopric been confronted in a painful way this week that a bishop, priests and monks abused their power and committed acts that cannot withstand the light of day: abuse of children and young people. It could not be worse" Wiertz said. The bishop has been under pressure the last few days to say something about the scandal. He is thought to have known for some time what Jo Gijsen did, but only broke his silence about it on Monday. Wiertz spoke at a special service, with the theme of propitiation. The service was organized by the bishop himself and with input from Mea Culpa, among others, which is an organization of abuse victims. Wiertz asked himself if the protection of the institute was more important than the protection of the victims? "It hurts to be confronted with these sinister black sides of the church. We want to recognize that the ecclesiastical leaders and church members have awoken great irritation and that they have made themselves guilty of serious cases." Wiertz continued to tell the churchgoers, among whom several abuse victims were present, that forgiveness does not come easy. "Forgiveness is only possible there, where recognition of fault has preceded", Wiertz said. Jo Gijsen has always denied everything, and even accused one of the indicters of defamation. The bishop concluded the sermon by hoping that a time will come when the Church can be trusted once again. In the meantime, he said, the Church will have to work to regain that trust.