On March 10, members of Stichting Civitas Christiana (SCC) gathered in the eastern Dutch city of Nijmegen to protest a sexually explicit, homoerotic ad campaign. But their public prayer rally provoked gay activists and their Antifa allies, who mobbed the Catholic demonstrators in a vain attempt to silence them through intimidation and assault.
On Tuesday, Church Militant spoke with SCC founder and rally leader Hugo Bos about the attack. Noting "the bizarre contrast between what they practiced and what they preach," Bos pointed to the irony of assaulting others of a different viewpoint in the name of "tolerance."
"They prove themselves to be hypocrites," he observed, "by preaching tolerance and not acting accordingly."
"Their idea of freedom of speech proves to be a farce," Bos added, "because it only counts for the 'correct' opinions, and the opinions against gay marriage are not politically correct and have no place in the public sphere, according to them."
The Nijmegen rally was organized to challenge a shock marketing campaign by Amsterdam-based clothier Suitsupply. Launched in February, "Find Your Perfect Fit" features men groping and kissing.
Plastered in public spaces across the Netherlands, the ads have prompted an unexpected backlash in the famously post-Christian country. Suitsupply has lost more than 12,000 followers on Instagram and in some areas, its displays have even been torn down.
But SCC chose to speak out in a positive way — through peaceful protest "with the Rosary as the only weapon." In a city square, about a dozen committed Catholics — mostly young men — prayed and unfurled banners reading "Stop Suitsupply" and "God's marriage = 1 man + 1 woman."
Their message enraged local Leftists, who descended on the prayer rally screaming, spitting and hurling rubbish. Surrounding the men, they shredded SCC's pro-family flyers and ripped apart Rosaries while chanting "God is gay!" and "Hail, Satan!" One young Catholic was punched in the face, another was temporarily blinded by rainbow glitter thrown in his eyes.
Local politicians from liberal parties PvdA, VVD, GroenLinks and D66 were present for the assault; on the sidelines, they joined activists offering comments to members of the Dutch press.
"We all want a Nijmegen where everyone can be themselves," said one D66 member. A reporter later pointed out the irony, writing, "Behind her back, people of a different view are wished dead."
One gay activist told a journalist for newspaper Reformatorisch Dagblad, "These homophobic men are not allowed to have a voice in our society. They are fascists."
Afterward, the reporter wrote, "His statement is one of the mildest of the afternoon. There are slogans everywhere, and often they are too bad to repeat here. "
In spite of the onslaught, the young Catholics held fast against their Leftist attackers. Unbowed, after the rally Bos declared: "The protest was just the beginning. We are now going to campaign intensively and persistently for the family. We do not stop until the family is completely protected from the sexual revolution."
"We noticed we hit a raw nerve, a very sensitive point for the [Leftist] revolutionaries," Bos told Church Militant Tuesday. "If the revolutionaries thought that they have already won this battle and didn't need to take action, they would just ignore us. But apparently, there's more support for our position in the public opinion than we would imagine."
"That's why we see an urgent need to defend the family even more strongly than before," he explained. "We're planning new initiatives to defend the family in the public sphere, like collecting petitions, lobbying Parliament, writing opinion articles on the internet, spreading the message through social media, conducting lectures in schools, holding conferences and so on."
Founded by Bos in 2014, Stichting Civitas Christiana is the Dutch subsidiary of Tradition, Family and Property, an international Catholic movement battling the Culture of Death in its various forms — sexual immorality, abortion, euthanasia, gay and transgender ideology, etc.
The SCC fights to stem the collapse of Dutch culture and traditions. "We understand Dutch culture in the context of Christian civilization, as it has taken shape in Europe over the centuries," the group's Culture Under Fire campaign website explains. "Civitas Christiana wants to protect and further spread the norms and values of our civilization that are rooted in Christianity."
Bos and his allies are deeply troubled by the state of Dutch society and by the condition of the Catholic Church inside the country.
The Church in the Netherlands has been bleeding parishioners for more than 50 years. Led by a cabal of dissident bishops, Dutch Catholics were seized by a spirit of revolt in the late 1960s and after a half-century of modernist infiltration and abuse, the Church in the Netherlands is a ghost of what it once was.
"The deterioration is immense," Bos reflected. "At least two-thirds of the churches will be closed down — two-thirds. No one could have imagined 50 years ago that something like this would happen. It's devastating — there's no parallel in history, I would say."
But as congregations are gutted and cathedrals sold off, Bos sees reasons to hope. Though the great die-off continues, he said, a core of faithful, committed Catholics remains.
As proof, Bos points to his own small army of backers. Stichting Civitas Christiana is supported by 200,000 Dutch — "more than you would imagine in as liberal a country as the Netherlands," he observed.
Among these supporters are a growing number of priests and religious. "These young priests — the majority of them, I would say — are more orthodox than their predecessors were," he assessed.
Bos explained that because "the revolution" took hold in the Netherlands early, "the process of restoration is a bit more advanced, in the sense that those who were unfaithful are fading away and no longer spread their evil message inside the Church. Those who remain are usually the more faithful and loyal."
Though still a minority, their influence inside a smaller, humbler Church is strengthening as the heterodox apostatize or pass on.
What's more, a new generation of Dutch Catholics is emerging, Bos pointed out — young men and women willing to face down angry agitators for the sake of truth, men like Nathan Zoonen, who stood with Bos in Nijmegen as the Leftists surrounded them.
In an interview after the March 10 prayer rally, Zoonen was asked if he had any message for fellow members of the fold. The young Dutch Catholic responded with an exhortation: "Keep your Catholic Faith. Fight for the Catholic Faith."