Dutch Catholic Church Accused Of Castrating At Least 10 Youths In The 1950s

Dutch Catholic ChurchSt. Catharine’s Church in Utrecht, the centre of the Dutch Catholic Church

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad dropped a huge bomb at the weekend, publishing details of a child reportedly castrated by Catholic Priests in the 1950s — and alleging that as many as 10 more children may be victims.The children were reportedly castrated to cure their “homosexuality”.

In one instance, the child, Henk Heithuis had reported he was being sexually abused by priests. After giving evidence, Heithuis was castrated at a Catholic-ran psychiatric institution, officially at his own request, though no documentation of his written consent occurred.

Heithus died in a car crash in 1958, two years after he was reportedly castrated, but Cornelius Rogge, a well-known painter who knew him during the 1950s, reported the castration to an official inquiry, but found his reports ignored.

Rogge later described his friend’s incident. “He was strapped to a bed… In one stroke, his scrotum was cut out. Then he was taken to an infirmary to rest and recover. Then the other boys received the same treatment. He could hear them screaming.”

The scandal is made worse by reports that a Catholic inquiry into abuses by the Catholic Church in Holland, the Deetman committee, had been told of the castrations but did not investigate further due to lack of evidence. The Deetman committee was founded in 2010 and has led to the discovery of hundreds of abusive priests.

Given the uproar over the article, the Telegraph reports that Dutch MPs are set to call for a closer investigation.

“I am shocked that boys were being castrated in the 1950s,” said Khadija Arib, a Labour MP told the British paper. “I want an independent investigation. We must find out how many cases there were, who knew about it and why the government did not act.”

NRC claim that “indications” have been found that 10 other children were victims, while the journalist behind the story, Joep Dohmen, told the Telegraph he had found 9 cases, adding, “There will be many more. But the question is whether those boys, now old men, will want to tell their story.”

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