Rorate Caeli

Rebellion in Flanders

The Dutch Catholic blog In caelo et in terra has the story:

The disobedient actions of priests in Austria (there most visibly, but similar feelings are also present among clergy in other countries), who call for married priests, ordination of women and lay people ‘celebrating’ the Eucharist (a sheer impossibility, equal to, say, having fish wait tables), has also spread to Belgium. From the Diocese of Bruges, to be exact. A manifest titled “Faithful have their say” (‘Gelovigen nemen het woord’) has by now been signed by several hundred people, among them 155 priests. (The number now stands at 211 - Pascal) The full text, along with the names of the priests who signed it, is available, in Dutch, here.

The full list of signatories (5,459 and counting, including 211 priests so far) is located here. The manifesto's signatories call themselves "Flemish believers" and claim to have come up with this manifesto "in solidarity with fellow believers in Austria, Ireland and other countries who also insist on reforms".

The epicenter of this movement, the Diocese of Bruges, happens to be led by Bishop Jozef De Kesel.

The propositions of the Belgian manifesto are as follows:

1) We do not understand why the leadership of our local communities (such as parishes) is not entrusted to a man or woman, married or unmarried, professional or volunteer, who received the necessary formation.

2) We need dedicated shepherds. We do not understand why these fellow faithful cannot lead Sunday services.

3) In every living community we need liturgical leaders. We do not understand why – when there is no priest – a service of Word and Communion is not allowed.

4) We do not understand why skilled laypeople and formed religious educators can not preach. We need the Word of God.

5) We do not understand why faithful of good will who remarried after a divorce have to be denied Communion. They are equally part of the community.

6) We plead that, as soon as possible, both married men and woman are allowed to the priesthood. We, faithful, desperately need them.

Mark de Vries has a more thorough analysis of the propositions and what is behind these.