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Sunday 21 December  
Simonis - "Wir haben es nicht gewusst."
Robert Chesal's picture
Hilversum, Netherlands
Hilversum, Netherlands

Dutch Cardinal protected paedophile priest

Published on : 10 February 2011 - 2:20pm | By Robert Chesal (Photo: NPS/Vara)
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While he was Archbishop of Utrecht, Cardinal Ad Simonis shielded a paedophile priest. The cardinal knew about the man’s paedophile past when he transferred him to a parish in Amersfoort, where the priest again sexually abused children.

The revelations follow research by Radio Netherlands Worldwide, the NRC Handelsblad newspaper and Dutch television programme Nieuwsuur.

In 2010, Wim Eijk, who succeeded Cardinal Simonis as archbishop of Utrecht, banned the man from practicing as a priest because of his sex abuse. Cardinal Simonis, who served as archbishop from 1983 to 2007, had failed to take similar action. The Dutch prosecution service says six of the priest’s victims reported incidents to the police from 1987 to 2008. Dozens of children in total are thought to have been abused.

Responding to questions about the case, Cardinal Simonis says that “a well-known behavioural psychologist had said it was safe to appoint the priest to a new post. […] In the end, partially on the strength of the psychologist’s statement, assent was given” to the priest’s appointment.

Conviction hushed up
The cardinal was told by the then bishop of Rotterdam, Philippe Bär, that the priest had sexually abused underage boys in his parish in Zoetermeer. Bishop Bär wanted the priest out of his diocese. Archbishop Simonis then arranged for the man to be moved to a parish in Amersfoort.

The cardinal kept the Amersfoort parish in the dark about the priest’s paedophile behaviour and convictions. The priest himself says the cardinal did nothing to monitor how the situation developed. Cardinal Simonis also did nothing to prevent the priest from being transferred in 2005 to a parish in Eindhoven in the Den Bosch diocese.

Paedophile protected
Parents who complained about the priest to Cardinal Simonis were given no assistance. Hanneke Brunt, whose altar-boy son was abused: “Simonis told me – ‘This doesn’t go on in the Roman Catholic Church. We don’t do that.’” Abuse victim E. Meester says Cardinal Simonis “wilfully and knowingly gave a paedophile his protection, when he should have been protecting the faithful under his care.”

The cardinal, now retired, caused a furore last year when he commented on the abuse in an interview on a television programme. Speaking in German, he said: “Wir haben es nicht gewusst (We did not know)”. He says he dealt with all the cases of abuse that were brought to his attention “extremely carefully”.

In 1997, the Roman Catholic Hulp en Recht (Help and Justice) complaints agency concluded the church had done nothing for one of the priest’s victims: “There is no evidence that any kind of attempt was made to rectify or alleviate the desperation he had been made to suffer.”

More details on this website at 1700 CET.


Anonymous 3 July 2013 - 4:26am

Why is this man, Cardinal Ad Simonis, not being prosecuted today. For Christ's sake, he is not a god he "Cardinal Ad Simonis", is not even a holy person, he proved that when he was a cardinal. He is a man and men are capable of being held responsible for their actions. 

martin odwyer 14 February 2011 - 9:14pm / Ireland

Are we all so surprised,why? we know the history of catholic church.
it made an agreement with hitler by signing a concordat with herr hitler in
1933,and thereafter appointing his vice chancelor von pappen, an knight of
the order of saint gregory. When asked by thousands of americans through
letters,to excomunicate herr hitler, he refused thereby becoming the first
world state outside germany to recognize herr hitler. Through out the war when herr hitler was invading all around the world vatican sat on the fence
just in case herr hitler whom they supported won. Why were they never brought to the War Crimes? A THEOCRATIC STATE like the vatican intersted
only its own survivel at all costs and to pay out the least in damages, and has still to hand over 'land'it promised to the Irish Government in
part payment ten years on!!! does not know GOD!!BECAUSE THEY THE CATHOLIC CHURCH STANDS CONDEMED by GOD, though they claim to know god they denie him by there actions. They will squirm and wriggle to get out of this moral
problem and will to there, imagagination think so, because powerful forces
are aligned with them,'lEGIONS OF CHRIST', 'Opous dei',Knights of colmbanus' 'Knights of templer' anyone of these members could be a politian even in government? an smooth rising anger or any laws that might be spoken about to rectify this crime against 'little children'
and then be rewarded by being made a count or lord of the 'THEOCRATIC STATE'? We in Ireland have seen these clergy moved around not only in places around Ireland, but moved to SOUTH AMERICA

CER1940 10 February 2011 - 9:19pm / USA

Why is this man, Cardinal Ad Simonis, not being prosecuted today. For Christ's sake, he is not a god he "Cardinal Ad Simonis", is not even a holy person, he proved that when he was a cardinal. He is a man and men are capable of being held responsible for their actions.

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