Priest under fire over cash gifts from elderly widow

The bishop of Den Bosch has reprimanded a young priest for accepting more than €100,000 from an elderly, deeply religious widow, the Volkskrant said on Tuesday.

If the priest, who is 37, continues to accept money, he will be suspended, the paper quotes the official warning, which was issued earlier this year, as saying.

In total, the woman, who is 89 and has no children, paid more than €100,000 into the priest’s bank account between 2011 and 2015. A further €50,000 in cash has also been withdrawn from her bank.

Although the woman claims she acted in free well, her nephew told the paper: ‘My aunt is completely under his spell. Then you have to ask how much free will you have.’

The nephew discovered how much money had been given to the priest after he was given power of attorney over his aunt’s financial affairs. ‘It is up to her what she does with her money,’ he said. ‘But this is the indoctrination of a deeply religious woman.’

Bishop Gerard de Korte said the gifts were a private issue between two mentally competent people. However, he said, priests are banned from accepting large gifts from people who fall under their pastoral care.

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