Netherlands Bishops’ Conference Reacts to Fiducia Supplicans

Source: FSSPX News

In a press release published on the official website of the Dutch Bishops’ Conference, and dated January 4, the Dutch bishops gave a “Response to Fiducia supplicans.” The term “response” already announces the intentions of the signatories.

The text firstly notes an intention of the Declaration of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith (DDF): knowing how to welcome people in difficulty, and in particular those who live in irregular relationships (divorced-remarried) or as a same-sex couple.

The Bishops’ Conference further notes that the DDF maintains that marriage is only possible between a man and a woman, that it is indissoluble, and “that irregular relationships, whatever they may be, encounter intrinsic moral objections.”

But the communiqué leaves aside the proposal of “pastoral blessings” proposed by Fiducia supplicans, in two ways: First by only wanting to address individuals, and not couples, and then by refusing to talk about blessings.

Thus, it is explained “it is possible to say a prayer for individual believers who live in an irregular relationship.” But, they add, “what we ask in prayer and the way we pray are important here.”

Notably, “in the case of a person in an irregular or homosexual relationship, the ordained minister may say a simple prayer outside the context of a wedding celebration or prayer service.”

“In this prayer,” it is immediately added, “we can ask God for strength and assistance under the invocation of His Spirit, so that the person can understand the will of God in his life and continue to grow.”

This Is Not a Blessing

And to make things perfectly clear, the Dutch bishops explain that “the chosen wording clearly indicates that this is not a blessing or confirmation of an irregular relationship and also avoids any confusion with marriage, which, according to the Catholic Church, can only be celebrated between a man and a woman.”

The goal is also clearly delimited: prayer is done to “give the strength to approach God and live in accordance with His intentions concerning the creation of man and woman and marriage.” In other words, to convert from one's evil ways.

A Reaction That Is Not Surprising

This position of the Dutch Bishops’ Conference is in fact very close to that of Cardinal William Eijk, Archbishop of Utrecht, who, in September 2022, asked the Holy See to prohibit the Flemish bishops of Belgium from blessing same-sex couples, because the Dutch-speaking bishops of this country had developed a formula for blessing same-sex couples.

The latter was not rejected by Rome even if it did not receive approval. According to Johan Bonny, Bishop of Antwerp, Pope Francis, informed, simply asked him if the bishops agreed among themselves. He acquiesced to his affirmative answer.

In his request to the Holy See, the cardinal said: “The declaration of the Flemish bishops, authorizing the blessing of same-sex couples and providing a liturgical text, raises serious objections, radically contradicts a recent response from the Congregation for the Doctrine of faith and carries the risk of leading Catholics to views contrary to the teaching of the Church on the morality of relationships between people of the same sex.”