Just when you think you’ve heard/seen/read everything, along comes an article like this one, posted today at the website for UK’s Telegraph newspaper:
“At least 10 teenage boys or young men under the age of 21 were surgically castrated ‘to get rid of homosexuality’ while in the care of the Dutch Roman Catholic Church in the 1950s. . . The NRC Handelsblad newspaper identified Henk Heithuis who was castrated in 1956, while a minor, after reporting priests to the police for abusing him in a Catholic boarding home.
Joep Dohmen, the investigative journalist who uncovered the Heithuis case, also found evidence of at least nine other castrations. ‘These cases are anonymous and can no longer be traced,’ he said. ‘There will be many more. But the question is whether those boys, now old men, will want to tell their story.’
. . . court papers [in the city where Heithuis was castrated] confirm, [he] was castrated ‘at his own request’, despite no submission of his written consent. Sources told Mr Dohmen that the surgical removal of testicles was regarded as a treatment for homosexuality and also as a punishment for those who accused clergy of sexual abuse. . .
Evidence emerged on Monday that government inspectors were aware that minors were being castrated while in Catholic-run psychiatric institutions.
Minutes of meetings held in the 1950s show that inspectors were present when castrations were discussed. The documents also reveal that the Catholic staff did not think parents needed to be involved.”
To their credit, the Dutch parliament is outraged and calling for an immediate investigation into the horrifyingly barbaric allegations.
As much as I want to hope that this is a false alarm, I cannot do so, given the Catholic Church’s shameful history of abuses and cover-ups. I’m also not sure that I can bring myself to imagine what else the Dutch parliamentary investigation may uncover, or the pain and shame that those anonymous boys endured. How unbelievably awful.