The Catholic Church castrated an abuse victim

Just when you thought it could not get any worse for the Catholic Church, there is this:

At least one boy under the age of 16 was castrated to ‘help’ his homosexual feelings while in Catholic church care in the 1950s, the NRC reported on Saturday.

But there are indications at least 10 other boys were also castrated, the paper said. The claims were not included in the Deetman report on sexual abuse within the Catholic church published at the end of last year.

The paper says the one confirmed case concerned a boy – Henk Heithuis – who reported being sexually abused by priests to the police in 1956. After giving evidence, he was placed in a Catholic-run psychiatric institution where he was then castrated because of his ‘homosexual behaviour’.

From another article

One case of genital mutilation by the Catholic church has been confirmed by NRC Handelsblad, a major Dutch paper. Henk Heithuis, a victim, reported sexual abuse by two Catholic priests who were convicted. Despite the official ruling, he was then placed by authorities into a psychiatric home run by the Roman Catholic Church. There, he was castrated, supposedly “at his own request,” though no documentation of his own consent was offered. Sources say castration was an accepted “cure” for homosexuality but also was punishment for reporting sexual abuse. Substantial evidence has come to light in at least nine other cases, the NRC reported.

Unfortunately, due to the time passed and anonymity these cases cannot be traced. The people who may have ordered these castrations may never be brought to justice, assuming they are still alive.

But beyond that, this shows just how thoroughly screwed up the Catholic Church’s reaction to sexual abuse has been. To castrate boys as punishment for reporting abuse? It is horrendous and cruel on the most basic level.

We will see how the Church responds to this news, but the news does the Church no favors. From the clear cover-ups to the bizarre study they issued that blamed sexual abuse on the sexual revolution to the lackluster responses to the community, the Catholic Church has shown itself utterly incapable of treating this issue with the seriousness and humanity it deserves.

Unsurprisingly, this is not getting much news. Whether it is the media being burned out from the Sandusky case or just not caring, it has not gotten much mention. That is a shame, not because this was a widespread problem (there is no evidence of that), but because until people actually hold the Church responsible for these kinds of deeds, the Church will continue to pretend they never happened.


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