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Dutch priest, suspended for living with woman, threatens legal challenge

December 06, 2011

A Catholic priest in the Netherlands, removed from ministry because he refused to stop living with a female companion, has threatened to fight his suspension before the European Court of Human Rights.

Father Jan Peijnenburg had reportedly lived with the same woman for over 45 years. After warning him early in November to end the relationship, the Diocese of ‘s Hertogenbosch suspended the priest last week when he refused to comply.

Legal analysts see little likelihood that a court would overrule the diocesan decision.

Diocesan officials were candid in admitting that they were previously aware of Peijnenburg’s living arrangment, but the priest’s outspoken public criticism of celibacy “confirmed what we knew” and made it impossible to ignore his transgression.


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  • Posted by: ColmCille - Dec. 09, 2011 1:53 PM ET USA

    In other words, it sounds as though they would have liked to have continued to ignore it. But if the court ruled against them would they do the right thing and ignore the court? The Church needs to resist unjust intrusions into her affairs.

  • Posted by: AgnesDay - Dec. 07, 2011 5:07 PM ET USA

    And when diocesan officials admit they looked the other way, what else can you expect?

  • Posted by: TheJournalist64 - Dec. 06, 2011 8:37 PM ET USA

    When someone contumaciously refuses to adhere to Church discipline and lives in sin, giving scandal, why is anyone surprised when they take it to the next degree?