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May 28, 2019 (LifeSiteNews)- In May of 2018, Cardinal William Eijk of the Netherlands, said the Pope's lack of clarity regarding intercommunion reminded him of “The Church's ultimate trial. Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, Article 675). 

Today, on Episode 11 of The John-Henry Westen Show, I’m discussing Cardinal Eijk's request for clarity from the Holy Father, akin to St. Paul's public rebuke of St. Peter. Join us as we discuss the harm being done by Pope Francis' ambiguity and the Church's teaching on sexuality and marriage. 

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Watch Episode 11 here:

Listen to Episode 11 here:



John-Henry Westen: Hi this is John Henry Westen co-founder and editor in chief of LifeSite News. I'd like to welcome you to this special edition of the John Henry Westen show. We're going to be speaking with one of the most outspoken defenders of the perennial Catholic teaching in the church, a medical doctor, a doctor of philosophy, and a doctor of theology, not to mention a Catholic cardinal. And at only sixty-five years of age, one of the younger cardinals in the church. William Jacobus Cardinal Eijk is the archbishop of Utrecht in the Netherlands. In an article last year Cardinal Eijk lamented Pope Francis's failure to bring clarity on the question of intercommunion with Protestants, and I quote, “My feeling to create clarity great confusion is created among the faithful and the unity of the church is in danger.” I quote again, “Observing that the bishops and above all the successor Peter failed to maintain and transmit faithfully, and in unity the deposit of faith contained in the sacred tradition and sacred scripture. I cannot help but think of Article Six seventy-five of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.”. 

He wrote, “that article of the Catechism,” which he quoted in full, “warns of a great trial that will shake the faith of many believers. It prophesies a persecution that will, and I quote, “Unveil the mystery of iniquity in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth.”” Cardinal Eijk warned publicly even two years ago that by failing to clarify the church teaching over divorce and remarriage Pope Francis was, and I quote, “fracturing the church.” During my recent time in Rome at the Rome life forum, where the cardinal spoke, I had the opportunity to sit down with him for this interview where we discuss Pope Francis, as well as Cardinal Eijk's take on some of the issues in the church today requiring clarification. I've let the cardinal lead us in our opening prayer so stay tuned. And here we go. 


John-Henry Westen: Welcome to this special episode of The John-Henry Westen Show. Coming to you today from Rome where we are at the Rome Life Forum which LifeSite founded in 2014. We are very privileged to have with us today Cardinal William Jacobus Eijk who is from the Netherlands. Welcome Cardinal Eijk. 

Cardinal Eijk: Thank you so much. 

John-Henry Westen: And we'll begin as we always do with the sign of the cross, led this time by his eminence. 

Cardinal Eijk: In the name of the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen. 

John-Henry Westen: Amen. So it is very good to be with you, Your Eminence. And you gave a discussion, or a talk today, about gender theory and about homosexuality. These very difficult topics in our world today. And yet for you, both from your medical background, as well as your background in theology and philosophy, it's a very simple answer for the Church. Can you give us very briefly what what the position of the Church is on these things. 

Cardinal Eijk: Well the church says that there is an essential relationship between some aspects of gender and biological sex, like being father, mother, man, or wife, matrimony. You know and these relationships, sexual relationships, always need to be, have a place in the marriage between man and wife. That's matrimony and that's based just on the, what we, what God reveals Himself in the Bible, it's a Triune God. And John Paul II, St. John Paul II, explained to us in his theology of the body that there is an analogy between the Triune God and matrimony. He called this a unity of three persons who give themselves totally to one another, and they differ in their relationships. And you know, you see a kind of reflection of this in man, created in image of God and also marriage is created in the image of God. There's the most intimate relationship we know between two persons and these persons give themselves totally to one another but differ from each other but are complementary to each other. Of course in the field of procreation man cannot procreate alone. The woman cannot procreate alone. They have to procreate together and collaborating with one another in sexual relationships. And in this way they donate themselves totally to one another. 

And man is a unity of soul and body. Not only man's soul, not only body, he is soul and body and he gifts himself totally to somebody else. In this case he marries his wife he gifts himself also at the level of the body. And you know at the level of the body, the most authentic expression of it is sexual relationship in man and wife, between man and wife in matrimony and this has to be a complete donation.

That means that you must be ready, to give, a man must give the motherhood to his wife, and the wife should give the fathershood to her husband, you know. And when we block this by contraception the donation is not complete.  In a sexual relationship, always we, always needs to be open to procreation in order to be a reflection of is happening in the Triune God, in this community of the three divine persons. That's the basis for the church's doctrine on matrimony and sexual ethics. 

John-Henry Westen: Beautiful. Now there are in the church today, some among, even among priests, and bishops even, who suggest a different way forward. They say, the …, the doctrine won't change but they say there can be a different pastoral approach. A pastoral approach that doesn't quite measure up to what the doctrine is. And it goes something like this; they'll say for instance, in Germany some of the bishops even allow for this, where that, they don't say marriage for homosexual couples but they will indeed give blessings for homosexual couples. How would you react to that? 

Cardinal Eijk:  Well I would never bless a homosexual couple. You know, we must of course have compassion with people who have problems with their gender, you know, and have problems with homosexual, lesbian feelings, or who will feel themselves to be transgender, transsexual and so on. You know, we need to give them assistance as much as we can give. We need to support them in order to live a life as solitarians. That's, and you know, we we have to take them seriously. Don't laugh about them. Don't reject them. Have compassion with them. But you know, the compassion does not imply that you agree, that homosexuality is something willed by God. You know, that's the other way. So we have, there are limits, that we, that's not real compassion and compassion and righteousness needs to be together. They are connected to one another. There is not compassion without righteousness. So there are, you know, norms for our sexual behavior we did not create ourselves. We have a creator who created this in this way. Who created marriage in a certain way as explained as the image of what is going on in the Triune God. He is the model for everything we do. Also for our marriage or sexual relationships. So we need to follow His words. We find that the Bible and which the Church you know teaches guided by the Holy Spirit. 

John-Henry Westen:  These answers are challenging in today's world. A lot of people would criticize you for them but you seem to be willing to be open to criticism as long as you're following Christ and doing, despite hardships, doing what needs to be done for the faith. One of those things that you did recently, I read you, you were concerned with the Holy Father's answer vis-a-vis Communion for Protestants. And you talked about it publicly even, very much in a way like St. Paul did to Peter, publicly talking about your dismay that the Holy Father didn't bring clarity. What led you to that? I know you've received some pushback already for doing that. So what led you to that. And if you knew beforehand that kind of pushback you'd get would you reconsider doing it at all?

Cardinal Eijk: I did not criticize the Pope. I asked him to give clarity. That's another thing of course. And you know all the cardinals are special advisers to the pope. So I've done my duty I would like to say. You know every pope has his own qualities and the popes who succeed one another they supplement each other. So this pope has a more pastoral approach. Pope Benedict had a theological approach and Pope John Paul II was very strong in speaking to big groups of people, to the masses, you know, he could stir them up. And so every pope has his own polities. So I don't criticize the pope but I just asked for clarity with regards to some aspect of the doctrine, for instance intercommunion. And I asked for that also in the field of gender theory because there is much confusion now about that in church. I think that already St. Paul offers, yeah, St. John Paul II that give all the clarity is we need this. So just teach right what he taught and then you will know the truth is theology of the body as catechesis. Yes to the beginning of his pontificate but also Veritatis Splendor and all the things he said about marriage. And said, you know, he wrote a lot of things on marriage, just read that and you will find the truth and the answers for our actual challenges. 

John-Henry Westen: One of the and my last question to today the church is facing very severe times especially because of this abuse crisis within the clergy. Many, many people even good Catholics have an aversion to, to clergy somehow now and we seem to be in a real time of crisis also brought on from the outside but but also from the inside. There is a lot of division even in the hierarchy. How are good Catholics supposed to deal with this situation?  What would you suggest for them? 

Cardinal Eijk: Well I should say that the church should do everything in the interest of the victims of sexual abuse. It's our experience in Holland that many, not, not many people left the church for the sexual abuse affair. They did so because they lost their faith. Well this of course for, eh, is a pity and, eh, it shouldn't happen. Anyhow, that's why, how it went. When we had this crisis in 2010 I received a lot of complaints in, you know, short a short time and we decided to ask a well-known politician was a cultural reputation who investigated the sexual abuse problem from 1945 until 2010. He did so and he reported his report in 2011. It was a very honest report with very horrible details. I must say. So, everyone saw that it was an independent report and he recommended this, to erect an  independent foundation with four pillars: reporting center, the complaints commission, compensation commission, and a platform for assistance to the victims. And we followed this recommendations. And they said complaints commission, compensation commission, treated some 2000 complaints. And in 2014 the number of complaints was getting pretty low. And you know there was a final date for lodging these complaints at the 1st of May 2015. And afterwords we erected a new reporting center. So still people have, you can lodge complaints against people in the church, collaborators of the church who transgress a certain code of pastoral behavior and you know it also implies sexual abuse and we still have a regulation for people who want to lodge, you know, any complains which is prescribed. So we did all this in order to give the possibility, for people, for victims of abuse. It was prescribed. They could lodge in their complaints even against the people over that which is impossible according to canon law and to Dutch law. So it follows a kind of glance regulation in order to help the victims as much as we could. 

Cardinal Eijk: And there was a final report of this independent foundation. It was published the 18th of December of 2017. And we were able to present this report to the President of the Dutch religious in the Netherlands. And, the, I as responsible on behalf of the Dutch bishops conference for the sexual abuse case. And we could present this report in the presence of the president of the main organization of victims. And many people were stupefied that it was possible but the president of the main organization of victim was present and he was quite positive about what we did. So we did what we could and you know I think that I can say that the Roman Catholic Church in Netherlands has the most in this field and the Minister of Security, he presented what the Dutch Church did as an example for the Jehovah's Witnesses who are now facing the same problems. And for other organizations.

John-Henry Westen: Excellent Your Eminence did you want to add anything else for the viewers at LifeSite News? 

Cardinal Eijk: By now, and, I hope only one thing, there is much confusion in the church but don't lose hope. Christ is leading His Church even now, in this moment and this very now that we are speaking to each other and He will do so till the end of times. The porch or doors of Hell will not prevail against the Church. So, go on full of hope. And when you are still believing be very, very grateful that you can positively and consciously live with Jesus in your life because that is the most beautiful thing you can experience. 

John-Henry Westen: Beautiful. If I may ask that you would give us all a blessing your own blessing for us, that would be just awesome. 

Cardinal Eijk:  May almighty God bless you, the Father, the Son, And the Holy Spirit. Amen. Amen. I pray for you and pray for me. 

John-Henry Westen: Will do. 

Cardinal Eijk: We both need it. 

John-Henry Westen: Amen. For LifeSite News, this is John-Henry Westen. May God bless you all. 

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John-Henry is the co-founder, CEO and editor-in-chief of He and his wife Dianne have eight children and they live in the Ottawa Valley in Ontario, Canada.

He has spoken at conferences and retreats, and appeared on radio and television throughout the world. John-Henry founded the Rome Life Forum, an annual strategy meeting for life, faith and family leaders worldwide. He is a board member of the John Paul II Academy for Human Life and the Family. He is a consultant to Canada’s largest pro-life organization Campaign Life Coalition, and serves on the executive of the Ontario branch of the organization. He has run three times for political office in the province of Ontario representing the Family Coalition Party.

John-Henry earned an MA from the University of Toronto in School and Child Clinical Psychology and an Honours BA from York University in Psychology.