Dutch priest who petitioned for pro-LGBT ‘rainbow crossing’ in front of basilica withdraws petition
OUDENBOSCH, Netherlands, March 11, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Fr. Maickel Prasing, the Dutch priest who launched an online petition for a rainbow crossing to be placed in front of the Catholic Basilica of Oudenbosch, Brabant, in the Netherlands, closed the petition at the behest of the diocese of Breda in the wake of the media attention attracted by his suggestion. Public protests by young traditionally minded Catholics in the diocese probably also played a part.
The text of the petition is still online.
Shortly after disabling signatures for his petition, Prasing told the press on March 8 that he doesn’t have “a millimeter of doubt” regarding the call he made during his homily for “Carnival Sunday,” an occasion when large numbers of nominally Catholic revelers turn up in church at the beginning of public festivities before Lent.
“The diocese asked for that, because the petition went somewhat beyond its local character. We made our point, and it’s clear now,” he explained.
The story of Fr. Prasing’s initiative was broadcast by the local press and quickly picked up by the national Dutch media, in particular by Catholic and Protestant news sources. It was widely and approvingly quoted by the “gay” press in the Netherlands. LifeSiteNews made the news go global on March 7.
It is clearly the media noise, and not the petition itself, that disgruntled the Catholic hierarchy of Breda. Dapne van Roosendaal, spokeswoman for the diocese, confirmed that it fully supports the substance of Prasing’s petition. The reason he was asked to stop gathering signatures was related to a “modified context,” she said, because of the national publicity garnered by the story. “The diocese wants to avoid people misunderstanding the pastor’s objective,” she explained.
Pressed by journalists to clarify what could be “misunderstood,” van Roosendaal refused to give a precise answer. In particular, she did not react to questions regarding a banner deployed in the evening of March 7 by two young men of the “Sint Michaëlbrigade” (SMB) in front of the basilica with the words: “Prasing = a heretic.” “I’m not going to get into things people write on a banner about the parish priest,” she said.
This is just one more instance of the confusion that arises when Church teachings are not clearly recalled. Fr. Prasing himself remarked in an interview with BNDeStem: “There are people who think that with this message I created confusion about the Church’s point of view on homosexuality.”
As to his own thinking, there can be little doubt. The historically Protestant mainstream daily Trouw quotes Prasing as having associated himself with Roman Catholic spiritual leaders who favor a changed vision of homosexuality. Prasing, says Trouw, mentioned Bishop Overbeck of Essen, Germany, who pleads for the “depathologization” of homosexuality. “People should stop discriminating against them (homosexuals) in any possible way,” that bishop proclaimed last year.
Prasing also underscored the call of Cardinal De Kesel from nearby Brussels, in Belgium, who he said pleads for more Catholic tolerance toward LGBT persons. The Oudenbosch priest himself thinks things are changing in the Church’s attitude towards homosexuality, “even though traditional opinion on, say, marriage will not disappear all at once,” as he said, according to an indirect quote by Trouw.
Will a homosexual couple ever use the “gaybra crossing” to be married in the Basilica? Prasing didn’t say no. “The Church thinks in centuries,” he said.
Even if Maickel Prasing’s petition has been closed and despite the diocese’s decision to intervene, order has not been re-established. The Sint Michaëlbrigade, a group of about 30 “hard-core conservative” Catholics from Brabant created two years ago and composed mostly of young people, returned to the Basilica of Oudenbosch for Mass this Sunday, with the intention of handing out flyers — this did not in fact happen — and praying for Fr. Prasing, who was celebrating Mass in another church of his multi-steeple parish.
Thomas van Oeffelen, the group’s spokesman, told the press the word “heretic” is “one of the toughest words” they could use. “But when you contradict the teaching of the Church, that has to be the conclusion,” he said.
According to the Van Oeffelen, his group was able to speak to Prasing, “but this did not lead to the desired result,” he said. The young man made clear that homosexuals are not banned from entering any church, but they should respect certain conditions. “The person is welcome, not his sin,” he clarified, adding that Prasing would be helping LGBT activists to sin if he allowed them to receive communion.
On Sunday, the presence of two young men and one young woman from the SMB prompted negative remarks from parishioners who called their “reactionary, linear viewpoints” “medieval.” The local press underscored that one of them received communion kneeling.
Local parishioners, not necessarily regular churchgoers, prepared two banners with the words “Father Maickel = Charity” and had them signed at the end of the ceremony by adults and children. When Prasing returned from celebrating Mass in a neighboring village, applause went up, and he said he was “deeply touched” and “happy” with the “heart-warming” support. He also thanked the local mayor for having protected his “security” since his fateful homily.
Local politicians have already said they will go ahead and create a rainbow crossing in front of the Basilica of Oudenbosch.
The Netherlands, though small, is the country with the highest concentration of rainbow crossings — more than fifty to date. “Gaybra” pedestrian walks originated in West Hollywood in 2012, openly celebrating “LGBT diversity.”