Wim Eijk

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Willem Jacobus Eijk
Cardinal, Archbishop of Utrecht
Primate of the Netherlands
Mgr Eijk-Heilig Bloed.JPG
Willem Eijk in May 2007
ArchdioceseArchdiocese of Utrecht
Appointed11 December 2007
Installed26 January 2008
PredecessorAdrianus Johannes Simonis
Other postsPresident of the Bishops' Conference of the Netherlands
Cardinal-Priest of San Callisto
Ordination1 June 1985
by Joannes Baptist Matthijs Gijsen
Consecration6 November 1999
by Adrianus Johannes Simonis
Created cardinal18 February 2012
by Benedict XVI
Personal details
Birth nameWillem Jacobus Eijk
Born (1953-06-22) 22 June 1953 (age 66)
Duivendrecht, Netherlands
DenominationRoman Catholic
Previous postBishop of Groningen-Leeuwarden
Alma mater
MottoNoli Recusare Laborem (Do Not Reject the Work)
Coat of armsWillem Jacobus Eijk's coat of arms
Styles of
Wim Eijk
Coat of arms of Willem Jacobus Eijk.svg
Reference styleHis Eminence
Spoken styleYour Eminence
Informal styleCardinal

Willem Jacobus "Wim" Eijk (born 22 June 1953) is a Dutch prelate of the Catholic Church, a cardinal since 2012. He has been the Metropolitan Archbishop of Utrecht since 2007. He was Bishop of Groningen-Leeuwarden from 1999 to 2012. Before his clerical career he worked as a doctor, and as a priest he made medical ethics the focus of his academic studies.

Early life and studies[edit]

Willem Jacobus Eijk was born on 22 June 1953 in Duivendrecht, North Holland, Netherlands.[1] Eijk studied medicine at the University of Amsterdam and received his degree in 1978. In 1978 and 1979 he worked as a doctor specializing in internal medicine.[2] He studied for the priesthood at the seminary of Rolduc in Kerkrade.[3] Beginning in 1979 he combined his theological formation with the study of medical ethics at Leiden University. He was ordained to priesthood in 1985 and was incardinated in the Diocese of Roermond. Then he went to work as a curate in the parish of St. Anthony of Padua in Venlo Blerick.[3]

In 1987 he earned a doctorate in medicine from the University of Leiden,[3] with a dissertation about euthanasia.[4] In 1990 he completed a Ph.D. in philosophy at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum)[3] with a dissertation entitled The ethical problems of genetic engineering of human beings.[citation needed] Eijk also earned a master's degree and doctorate in theology at the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome.[3] At the same time he taught moral theology at the seminary of Rolduc. From 1996, Eijk was professor of moral theology in pontifical Faculty of Theology in Lugano, Switzerland. From 1997 to 1999 he was a member of the International Theological Commission.[3]

Ordination history of
Wim Eijk
Episcopal consecration
Consecrated byAdrianus Johannes Simonis (Utrecht)
Date6 November 1999
Episcopal succession
Bishops consecrated by Wim Eijk as principal consecrator
Herman Woorts13 February 2010
Ted Hoogenboom13 February 2010

Bishop and Archbishop[edit]

Eijk was appointed Bishop of Groningen-Leeuwarden on 17 July 1999 and consecrated a bishop on 6 November.[1] He chose the motto Noli recusare laborem ("Do not reject the work"), taken from the last words of Martin of Tours.[2] As bishop he restricted the role of the laity in church services in comparison with past practice.[4]

Pope John Paul II named him a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life on 4 August 2004[1] and a member of its governing council on 23 March 2005.[5]

In 2001 Wim Eijk suffered from a subdural hematoma from which he fully recovered.[2]

On 11 December 2007 Pope Benedict XVI appointed Eijk the Metropolitan Archbishop of Utrecht [3] On 26 January 2008 he was installed in St. Catharine's Cathedral in Utrecht. He is the 70th successor of Saint Willibrord (658–739) as head of that see.[citation needed]

In May 2008 Pope Benedict appointed Eijk a member of the Congregation for the Clergy.[6]

He co-edited the Manual of Catholic Medical Ethics: Responsible Healthcare from a Catholic Perspective, published in 2010.[2][7]

He was elected president of the Episcopal Conference of the Netherlands in 2011.[8]

On 18 February 2012, Pope Benedict XVI made Eijk a cardinal along with 21 others.[9] He was created Cardinal-Priest of San Callisto.[10] On 21 April he was named a member of the Congregation for Catholic Education.[11] He was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2013 papal conclave that elected Pope Francis.[12]

Pope Francis named him a member of the Pontifical Council for the Laity on 6 February 2014.[13]

In late 2013 Pope Francis agreed to a one-day visit to Amsterdam, a city omitted from Pope John Paul's visit to the Netherlands in 1985. Earlier plans were reportedly blocked by Eijk because he anticipated a lack of public enthusiasm.[14]

As Archbishop of Utrecht, he has recommended a restructuring of the diocese's 326 parishes into 48 territories, following a pattern throughout Europe in the face of shrinking church attendance. He has insisted of that plan despite some popular resistance. He said: "When I spoke to the pope, I warned that old church structures wouldn't exist by the time I retired — and that by 2025 two-thirds of our churches would have been withdrawn from divine worship.[15]


In June 2015 Eijk ordered the removal of Rhianna Gralike, the transgender treasurer of the Norbertus Parish for eastern Flevoland and Northern Veluwe, over the objections of the parish board.[16][17]

In 2015 Eijk was elected to represent the Episcopal Conference of the Netherlands at the Synod Bishops on the Family in October.[18] In advance of the Synod he published an essay stating that couples entering into a civil remarriage without having received annulments of earlier marriages represent "a form of structured and institutionalized adultery."[19] Following the synod, he became a critic of Pope Francis' Amoris laetitia. In 2018, he said the document had "caused doubt to be sown" and said Francis should state more clearly that marriage is "one and unbreakable" and that a Catholic who remarries after divorce must be denied Communion.[20]

In May 2018, after Pope Francis failed to reject a draft proposal on the part of the German Bishops' Conference to allow protestants in certain cases access to Communion, Eijk wrote that Francis was failing to defend "the clear doctrine and practice of the Church" and that this represented "a drift towards apostasy from the truth".[21] He concluded the interview with a reference to the Article 675 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, about the Great Apostasy and the Millennialism.[22]


  1. ^ a b c "Rinunce e Nomine, 04.08.2004" (Press release) (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. 4 August 2007. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d De Groot-Testoni, Paola (14 February 2012). "Cardinal-designate Eijk: Doctor, Defender of Life". Zenit. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Rinunce e Nomine, 11.12.2007" (Press release) (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. 11 December 2007. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Opvolger Simonis bekend: Wie is bisschop Eijk?" (in Dutch). RTV Utrecht. 11 December 2007. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  5. ^ "Rinunce e Nomine, 23.03.2005" (Press release) (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. 23 March 2005. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  6. ^ "Rinunce e Nomine, 06.05.2008" (Press release) (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. 6 May 2008. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  7. ^ Manual of Catholic Medical Ethics: Responsible Healthcare from a Catholic Perspective, ed. W.J. Eijk, L.M. Hendriks, J.A. Raymakers, and John I. Fleming (English Edition). Translated by Sr. M. Regina van den Berg, J. A. Raymakers (Ballarat: Connor Court Publishing, 2014), 629 pp. + Appendixes.
  8. ^ "Eijk Card. Willem Jacobus". Holy See Press Office. Archived from the original on 15 October 2017. Retrieved 6 December 2017.
  9. ^ "List of new cardinals named by Pope Benedict". Reuters. 6 January 2012. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
  10. ^ "Churches Assigned to New Cardinals". Zenit. 20 February 2012. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  11. ^ "Rinunce e Nomine, 21.04.2012" (Press release) (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. 21 April 2012. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  12. ^ "List of Cardinal Electors". Zenit. 12 March 2013. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  13. ^ "Rinunce e Nomine, 06.02.2014" (Press release) (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. 6 February 2014. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  14. ^ Hakkenes, Emiel (1 February 2014). "Kardinaal Eijk blokkeert bezoek paus Franciscus" [Cardinal blocks Pope Francis visit]. Trouw. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  15. ^ Luxmoore, Jonathan (15 November 2017). "Europe's church creatively rethinks as numbers plummet". National Catholic Reporter. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  16. ^ "Kardinaal Eijk wil af van transseksuele boekhouder". de Gelderlander (in Dutch). 6 July 2015. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  17. ^ "Uit kerk verbannen transgender gaat niet in op uitnodiging kardinaal". de Gelderlander (in Dutch). 29 June 2015. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  18. ^ "XIV Assemblea Generale Ordinaria del Sinodo dei Vescovi (4-25 ottobre 2015) - Elenco dei Partecipanti, 15.09.2015" (Press release) (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. 5 October 2015. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  19. ^ McElwee, Joshua J.; Coday, Dennis (2 October 2015). "Synod to be culmination of two years' preparation, consultation". National Catholic Reporter. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  20. ^ San Martín, Inés (1 February 2018). "Once again, bishops around the world differ on 'Amoris'". Crux. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  21. ^ Eijk, Willem Jacobus (7 May 2018). "Cardinal Eijk: Pope Francis Needed to Give Clarity on Intercommunion". National Catholic Register. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
  22. ^ John-Henry Westen (7 May 2018). "Cardinal raises question: Is Pope Francis part of Church's 'final trial'?". LifeSiteNews.com. Utrecht. Archived from the original on 19 May 2018.

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Bernard Möller [nl]
Bishop of Groningen-Leeuwarden
17 July 1999 – 11 December 2007
Succeeded by
Gerard de Korte
Preceded by
Adrianus Johannes Simonis
Archbishop of Utrecht
11 December 2007 – present
Preceded by
Corrado Ursi
Cardinal-Priest of San Callisto
18 February 2012 – present