Dutch Catholics Petition Bishops to Counter Church Crisis

by Stephen Wynne  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  April 16, 2018   

Doctrinal loyalty, "dubia" support among key demands

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THE HAGUE, Netherlands (ChurchMilitant.com) - A coalition of Catholic laity and religious are petitioning the bishops of the Netherlands to stand strong against what they say is a tide of Modernism engulfing the Vatican.

On Thursday, Church Militant spoke to signer Hugo Bos, founder of Tradition, Family, Property affiliate Stichting Civitas Christiana, about the initiative.

Bos explained the petition is designed to counter heterodox elements inside the Vatican who are working to undermine the Faith. As an example, he pointed to "the gay lobby," saying it is helping to "push the attack on Humanae Vitae" because the separation of sexuality and procreation can be exploited to seemingly justify their lifestyle.

Launched by Dr. G.J.M. van den Aardweg, a world-renowned specialist on the scientific aspects of homosexuality, and physics researcher Dr. I.W.J. Witteman, the petition was signed by nearly two dozen Dutch scholars.

It calls on the bishops and co-adjutor bishops of the Netherlands to take three specific actions to counter the crisis in the Church.

Hugo Bos

First, Dutch prelates are asked to express "loyalty to and uphold the doctrinal writings of the previous popes: Blessed Paul VI, St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI."

Specifically, signatories call for the bishops to publicly reaffirm the truths of Humanae Vitae; uphold Church doctrine on the intrinsic evil of homosexual acts; reinforce the ban on Holy Communion for those living in mortally sinful sexual relationships; maintain the canons and decrees of the Council of Trent and Vatican II; and reaffirm the supremacy of the law of God over subjective human conscience.

Second, the bishops are asked to join "the request for the correct clarification of the controversial passages in Amoris Laetitia, as directed to the pope by the initiators of [the] dubia, the Cdls. [Carlo] Caffarra, [Raymond] Burke, [Joachim] Meissner and [Walter] Brandmüller."

Signers remind the prelates that "you, who as bishops are the first appointed in the Church who, in imitation of St. Paul, can warn a pope and/or other supreme authorities of serious mistakes and, if necessary, to correct them according to the procedures that are in place."

Third, the bishops are asked to turn their attention to "the urgent need of the Church in China" and to "support Cdl. [Joseph] Zen openly" by making "an effort to keep the Vatican from delivering the Church to the Communist regime."

Half a century ago, we experienced in the Netherlands how these errors ... largely destroyed our once vital Church.

In their open letter introducing the petition, the signers profess astonishment at the present course of the Church, warning the Vatican is veering from "the essence of the Church's teaching on marriage and sexuality" onto "a road of degradation."

"Initially, one could try to condone the dubious statements and measures of the pope himself or of his assistants, in the expectation that the mistakes or slips would be of a temporary nature and would be adjusted again," they write. "Now, this is no longer possible. There is too much that cannot remain uncontradicted, there is too much division and uncertainty created."

The authors list specific reasons for alarm, including:

  • The trend toward "liberalization of divorce and recognition of homosexual relationships," sparked by the 2014 Synod on the Family in Rome

  • The ambiguity of Amoris Laetitia, exploited by heterodox bishops to 1.) allow the divorced and civilly-remarried to receive Holy Communion and 2.) exalt the primacy of subjective human conscience over Divine Law while asserting a "paradigm shift" in Church teaching is underway

  • Pope Francis' "persistent refusal" to respond to the 2016 dubia asking him to clarify Amoris Laetitia, as well as "ignoring ... the serious objections of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith" under Cdl. Gerhard Müller

  • The pontiff's affirmation of bishops in Argentina, Germany and Malta who use Amoris Laetitia's "disputed paragraphs in the liberal sense"

  • The honoring of "radical feminist abortion activists," including Dutch Labour politician Lilianne Ploumen

  • The appointment "inside and outside the Vatican" of "persons who reject Humanae Vitae or who are even pro-abortion" and of "advisors and bishops in different parts of the world who openly advocate recognition of homosexual relationships"

  • The creation of a secret papal commission to "re-examine" Humanae Vitae, which it describes as likely preparation for the elimination of general priestly celibacy

  • The trivialization of "the danger of Islam"

  • The diplomatic push to recognize the schismatic government-backed church in China, which they warn will deliver bishops and believers of the underground Catholic Church into the hands of the Communists

These issues are "interconnected" signers warn, linked by the common threads of "Modernism and Protestantism."

"Half a century ago, we experienced in the Netherlands how these errors ... largely destroyed our once vital Church," they lament. They warn — that after a period of recovery under Pope St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI — the errors of dissident 1960s theologians and their followers "now come to us from the Vatican itself."

Cdl. Willem Eijk of Utrecht

"We, therefore, have no illusions as to where this will lead," they add.

Bos told Church Militant that word of the petition is filtering out among Dutch Catholic circles, with a handful of priests posting it on their websites and with Catholic broadcaster Radio Maria Netherlands reading the petition on air during an interview with Van Den Aardweg and Witteman. Radio Maria, he noted, "is listened to by a lot of faithful Catholics."
Bos said he was unaware of any response from the bishops as of yet. "There are several bishops who are fairly orthodox and against gay marriage, for example, Cdl. Willem Eijk of Utrecht — but not just him."
"In general, we are pleading with our bishops to be more outspoken, to be clearer," he explained. "Of course, this will make them hated more by the liberal media and hated by the public, but that should not be their main concern."
Bos added that a conference is being planned for May 5 in Heilig Landstichting to address the troubles confronting the faithful.
"We'll be inviting Catholics to think about the crisis in the Church during this conference," he said, noting more details will be forthcoming.
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