81 year old priest ordered to leave partner of 46 years

The Dutch Catholic Church has ordered an 81 year old priest to leave his partner of 46 years or be forced to quit the priesthood.

The Den Bosch diocese in the central Netherlands said Jan Peijnenburg’s relationship with Threes van Dijck (85) was unacceptable to other priests.

“We are giving him the choice: either he leaves his partner or he leaves the priesthood,” said diocese spokesperson Michiel Savelsbergh.

“We cannot allow him to do that which is forbidden to others.”

But Peijnenburg told the daily newspaper AD, through a friend, that the Catholic Church had already known of his relationship for about a decade.

In a veiled admission of complicity, the diocese said it had given the ultimatum after a leaflet penned by Peijnenburg criticising priestly celibacy, which “confirmed what we knew”.

“Other priests reacted and, as we had had a written confirmation, we couldn’t leave things as they were,” said Savelsbergh.

Peijnenburg has until December 1 to decide, however he has decided to stay with van Dijck.


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