Dutch Gay Catholics: “Welcome”, After All.

Now, why couldn’ t the Church have adopted this approach in the first place? An agreement following discussions between gay activists and church authorities puts the decision on whether to accept communion firmly in the hands of the individuals concerned, as long as they first confess “serious sin”.

This decision is in clearer accordance with orthodox teaching (overall) than the previous knee jerk refusal. The Church recognises the primacy of conscience, and the obligation to follow conscience over other authority where they are in conflict. (I fully accept the standard proviso that the conscience must be an informed one). Only the individual can identify the conclusions of that conscience. The need to confess serous sin is an important qualification, but it is the responsibility of the individual to conclude, in the light of conscience, whether sin is in fact present. In adopting this approach, the Church is simply applying the best of Catholic teaching on conscience, and doing so in a manner which parallels the established guidelines on contraception.

Pray now that the authorities stick to their guns in the face of the probable howls of outrage from those who would prefer to keep the double standard.

From Dutch News:

Wednesday 03 March 2010

Gay Catholic activists and the church authorities in Den Bosch have reached a compromise deal over communion, the Volkskrant reports on Wednesday.

The deal means it will be up to gay Catholics themselves to decide whether or not they should accept communion, the Volkskrant says. ‘Serious sins’ should first be confessed, the agreement states.

Officially, the Catholic church regards homosexuality as a sin.

The compromise follows a row over the refusal of a local priest to give communion to the openly homosexual carnival prince – a traditional part of the pre-Lent festivities.

Last weekend
, a service at the St Jan church in Den Bosch was disrupted by activists and the communion celebration cancelled.


(It is worth noting that this landmark decision has come about after first angry protest, then discussion between the two sides. It’s not always easy, or even possible, to talk to the church authorities about matters of orientation, but it is important to keep trying.)

See the earlier report on this:

Dutch Gay Catholics: Excluded From God’s People?

6 Responses to “Dutch Gay Catholics: “Welcome”, After All.”

  1. Mark from PA Says:

    “Officially, the Catholic Church regards homosexuality as a sin.” I strongly disagree with this statement. I have never read in any Church document that the homosexual orientation is considered sinful. Some homosexual activities are considered sinful but homosexuality in and of itself is not a sin.

    • Terence@queerchurch Says:

      Mark, the words you object to are those of the journalist, not mine. You are right of course. Technically, the Church acknowledges that homosexuality in itself is not sinful. However, in its actions, as in its opposition to adoption rights for gay couples, and it’ insistence on removing a Canadian altar server in spite of his declaration that he was living a celibate life, the Church sometimes seems to ignore its own distinction.

      If the Church blurs the distinction its own practice, it is not surprising that non-specialist journalists also fail to make the distinction.

  2. Mark from PA Says:

    Terence, you are right, the Church does blur the distinction in its own practice. Many of the Church documents dealing with homosexuality are contradictory and confusing. Some of the statements are good examples of being insulting while using nice language.

  3. Mark from PA Says:

    Terence, examples from some documents that I find troubling. From the “Halloween Letter” of 1996: “The proper reaction to crimes committed against homosexual persons should not be to claim that the homosexual condition is not disordered. When such a claim is made and when homosexual activity is consequently condoned, or when civil legislation is introduced to protect behaviour to which no one has any conceivable right, neither the Church nor society at large should be surprised when … irrational and violent reactions increase.” This to me is quite insulting and seems to attempt to deter people from speaking out against discrimination and violence. The authors don’t want gay people to be protected and seem to express an understanding of violence against gay people. Another statement from the document which advocates banning gay people from seminaries states, “While profoundly respecting the persons in question,” men who “practice homosexuality” have “homosexual tendencies” or “support the so-called gay culture” should be banned from seminaries and the priesthood. Profoundly respecting the persons in questions?????? Give us a break here, I didn’t find a lot of respect in this document. Are they going to ban men who “practice” heterosexuality? Also are straight seminarians, who don’t think gay people should be discriminated against and should be treated equal and are not disordered or inferior people (and thus support the gay culture), allowed to become priests. Other Church documents seem to say that job discrimination is allowed against gay people in certain instances. I have some issues with this.

  4. Mark from PA Says:

    Thanks for allowing me to vent, Terence. I never read these documents until a few years ago and it came as a rude awakening. It is hard for me to accept this stuff. I am still trying to come to terms with it. I thank God for people like you, Michael Bayly, Father Geoff Farrow and others who are helping me to understand by sharing your wisdom, faith and love.

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