By Patrick B. Craine
'S-HERTOGENBOSCH, Netherlands, March 3, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Threatened with further protests by homosexual activists, the Diocese of Den Bosch, Netherlands has reiterated the conditions for worthy reception of Communion and stated that Communion will normally not be refused.
At the same time, they have endorsed a statement that the decision to receive the Eucharist should be left to the “individual conscience,” which many news outlets have taken to mean that homosexuals, practicing or not, are now welcome to receive Communion.
The homosexualist groups who led the demonstrations have responded by calling on their members to stand down.
Homosexual activists showed up en masse at St. John's Cathedral in Den Bosch this past Sunday to protest the bishop's support for the decision of Fr. Luc Buyens, the pastor of Our Lady of the Assumption parish in Reusel, to withhold Communion from an openly practicing homosexual early last month.
In order to protect the integrity of the sacrament, the diocese announced in advance that they would not be distributing Communion at the Mass. During the homily, when Fr. Geertjan van Rossem expressed the Church's teaching that “the correct experience of homosexuality is part of the ten commandments,” most of the protesters, some wearing pink wigs and gowns, loudly walked out of the Mass.
In a press release today, Bishop Antoon Hurkmans stated that to receive Communion a person must be baptized, must believe that the Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Christ, and “must live according to the moral teaching of the Church.” “Reception of Communion,” the statement continued, “means the affirmation of these two points.”
“In normal circumstances, therefore, Communion will not be refused,” it added.
The diocese referred interested parties to another statement from the pastoral council of St. John's Cathedral. That statement emphasized that the parish is not a suitable place for protests, and asks that next Sunday's Mass be kept “normal and dignified.”
But it also reads: “If we do it this way, we can leave it to the individual conscience whether the person can receive Communion, keeping in mind the Bishop's instruction.”
COC, a national homosexualist organization, and Gaykrant, a Dutch homosexualist newspaper, stated that they are pleased with the Cathedral's “reconciliatory words.” According to Vera Bergkamp, COC vice president, reports Radio Netherlands Worldwide, “The discussion has been initiated. The church council has indicated it wants a long-term contact."
Bishop Antoon Hurkmans
Diocese of Den Bosch
Phone: 073 6125488
Fax: 073 6136850
See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
Hundreds of Dutch Gay Activists Protest at Cathedral over Communion Refusal
Gay Activists File Complaints against Dutch Priest over Communion Refusal
Protests against Dutch Priest Who Refused Communion to Gay Carnival “Prince”
Gay Carnival “Prince” Denied Communion by Dutch Priest