Monday March 8, 2010

Dutch Catholics Upset at Diocese for Backing Down on Communion for Open Homosexuals

By Patrick B. Craine

‘S-HERTOGENBOSCH, Netherlands, March 8, 2010 ( – A priest and professor of canon law with the Diocese of Den Bosch has criticized the diocese and its bishop, Antoon Hurkmans, for backing down on denying Communion to open homosexuals. At the same time, a group of Dutch Catholics have launched a petition calling on the diocese to support the priest whose actions sparked the controversy over the issue.

The diocese initially supported Fr. Luc Buyens, the pastor in Reusel, after he decided to withhold Communion from his town’s Carnival Prince because the man was openly homosexual. The priest’s decision sparked a protest at Sunday Mass, and on the bishop’s advice, Fr. Buyens opted not to distribute Communion at the Mass. When homosexual activists then moved their protest to St. John’s Cathedral in Den Bosch, the diocese again chose not to distribute Communion.

But last week, after meeting with the homosexualist leaders, the diocese announced that Communion is not normally refused, and endorsed a statement from the Cathedral which said that they would leave the decision about receiving Communion to the individual’s conscience.

Fr. Cor Mennen, pastor of the parish in Oss and canon lawyer at the diocesan seminary, insists, however, that priests must refuse Communion to “public sinners,” including open homosexuals. He called the diocese’s release “a statement that constitutes a half-truth and therefore a total lie, [which] cries out to all the media: the bishop has changed his mind.”

“Many priests who were involved in this case are now isolated,” he said, noting that he had received a call from one priest who was concerned about remaining in the diocese.

“It is high time that the bishop’s conference publish a major text on sin, on the necessity for each Catholic to form his conscience, and to connect that with Communion,” he said. “Vain hope… The bishops are more concerned with greater numbers and tranquility than announcing an uncomfortable truth.”

The Dutch Catholic magazine Catholica has launched an online petition to support Fr. Buyens. According to the petition, “The Catholic priest Luc Buyens … has been attacked by homosexuals and then placed in the cold by his own church.”

Fr. Mennen sent an e-mail to the diocese on March 3, demanding a correction to last week’s statement.

See the Catholica petition here (in Dutch).

Contact Information:

Bishop Antoon Hurkmans

Diocese of Den Bosch

Parade 11

5211 KL

‘s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands

Phone: 073 6125488

Fax: 073 6136850

E-mail: [email protected]

See related coverage:

Dutch Diocese Proposes Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell on Gays Receiving Communion

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


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