Vatican punishes Dutch bishop

The Vatican has barred a retired Dutch bishop from saying Mass in public for sexually abusing a teenage boy in Kenya.

Fons Eppink, head of the Mill Hill order in the Netherlands, told Radio Netherlands Worldwide and Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad that the measure was taken by the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples but was not made public.

Schilder has been barred from “saying Mass in public and from fulfilling pastoral duties,” Father Eppink explained.

Bishop Schilder was given early retirement on 1 August 2009, officially due to his ailing health. Since that time he has been living at a convent that cares for the elderly, run by the Mill Hill order in the Dutch town of Oosterbeek. .

Bishop Schilder was accused by a 32-year-old member of the Masai tribe in the province of Ngong in southern Kenya. The man says that as a 14-year-old boy he was raped by the bishop who was still a priest in Ngongo at the time.

The man has also accuses another Dutch missionary from the Mill Hill order, who has since died. In January 2003, Cornelius Schilder was appointed bishop of the Kenyan diocese of Ngong, which is home to around 100,000 Roman Catholics.

Like Cornelius Schilder, Fons Eppink was also a missionary in Kenya. As head of the Mill Hill order in Kenya, Father Eppink heard the accounts of both the victim and the bishop. “I asked the papal nuncio in Kenya and the archbishop to initiate a church investigation. This formed the basis for the Vatican’s action. The police were not informed.”


Vatican punishes Dutch bishop for child abuse in Kenya (Radio Netherlands)