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.


  1. Do they understand anything? :p

  2. I hope this catches on in Ireland. If a petition were signed, one would then have a reliable list of priests to avoid -- and the new nuncio would have a list of priests to not take seriously, and certainly not to be considered for vacant dioceses.

  3. Pot Stirrer12:37 PM

    One area where I actually think traditionalists need to show less indignation is on the subject of married priests.

    As poor and lousy an idea as it may be, nonetheless, married priests are not a violation of Church doctrine and actually do exist in other rites. One should be able to hold to such an idea for the Latin rite, however imprudent and unwise, without being identified with heterdoxy and dissent.

  4. Kennyp12:59 PM

    Their solution to Church problems is more of the same madness.Much more.

  5. A lot of misunderstoods. They don't need reforms. They need cathechism.

  6. Art Thou Elias?1:36 PM

    All this is merely a logical result of Vatican II, which opened the Pandora's Box of "human respect," and set aside Tradition.

  7. Pot Stirrer, you are correct about married priests but this misses several important facts:

    (1) Married priesthood is often cited as the solution to the sexual abuse crisis. This is not only false, it would actually aggravate it (witness the number within Protestantism) unless the root causes are taken care of.

    (2) Clergy have never been allowed to marry after ordination, even in the Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox. These call to actions do not want this restriction.

    (3) Divorced men have never been allowed to become priests, even in the Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox. These call to actions do not want this restriction.

    (4) Even in the Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox, celibacy is the preferred state, and in the Eastern Orthodox bishops must be celibate. These call to actions deny this.

    (5) Married men can be denied the priesthood because of their wives in the Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox. These call to actions do not want this.

    (6) If married priesthood were the only requirement, they would ask for a mass transfer to the Eastern Catholic Church. This is never hinted at.

    In short, there is nothing to be gained by changing the status quo on celibate priesthood in the Latin Rite.

  8. Priestly Celibacy/Continence is of Apostolic Origins to which the Decretals (Directa, Cum in Unum) of Pope Siricius - 385 A.D. attest).

    The LAST thing Holy Mother Church should surrender on is Priestly Celibacy/Continence. It would be the death knell and the Church would shrink to the size of two mustard seeds.

    Who cares what the Eastern Church did or does or how its Praxis has forever been opposed to Apostolic Praxis

    "The Apostolic Origins of Priestly Celibacy," by Christian Cochini, S.J. is an indispenasble aid in understanding the subtext of the modern movement to destroy the Church via sex

  9. And the diocesan hand-wringing and angst concerning SSPX!

    Pure madness.

  10. Indeed, more sex is not the answer to a sexual crisis. In fact, celibacy and continence are the only answer to it. Perhaps in another age without these problems, but not now. Also, 90% of all true pedaphelia is actually committed by married men, against young girls. ERGO...married clergy, plus alter girls...BAD IDEA FOR THE CHURCH. Not going to happen.

  11. Celibacy is not the only point of contention in this manifesto. The real problem is that it calls for a blurring of the lines between laity and clergy, such that laypeople (including married ones and women) should be allowed to lead parishes and preside over Sunday services (including what these heretics call "service of Word and Communion", which is their term for the Mass). Communion for "remarried" divorcees is also advocated.

  12. Ferraiuolo7:45 PM

    It is time to excommunicate a few...

  13. Ecclesia Militans8:02 PM

    Sacred Apostolic Tradition is of ultimate importance in the matter of celibacy.
    The law of the entire Church since Apostolic times was either celibacy or perpetual continence for priest and deacons.

    It is enough to read this short article published on the site of the SSPX American district, entitled "THE CONTROVERSY OVER CELIBACY FOR DEACONS"(

    The article shows that exactly the opposition to this Apostolic Tradition was one of the ways the Eastern Churches became schismatic:
    "The Eastern Church began at a late date inexorably to violate the sacrosanct law that their fathers had inculcated. This began with the Quinisext Council of 692. This marked one of the ways by which she became schismatic, because the popes refused to endorse the conclusions of the Council in the matter of celibacy. As for the popes who would grant a dispensation to the Orientals remaining Catholic, this was, ad duritiam cordis, because of the hardness of their hearts —in order to keep these clerics from becoming wholly schismatic.

    So we must be very careful in using the argument of married priests in the East, knowing why it came about and that as an indult it can be nullified at any time.

  14. Lee Lovelock-Jemmott8:40 PM

    Flanders, from where some of my ancestors come from use to be a bastion of Catholicism compared to the thoroughly secularised and French infested south of Belgium that in a twist of usual practice embraced secularism and somewhat 'protestant' ideas before their Germanic speaking northern neighbours.
    To get back on the issue, this is just another fruit of Godfried Daneels hideous work during and post Vatican II with a few other clerics who saw to it that they desecrated sacred grounds in all areas of the church and allowed all sorts of neo-liberal/ demonic ideas to run wild.
    The de-pillarisation and the increase of immigrants to Brussels also infected the minds of many 'utopianistic' clergy who have given way to the wants of the thoroughly related 'child of the French Revolution' (Belgium) and thus, the Flemish have had to suffer with nothing less than heretics running their diocese. I just pray that Our Lady may hear the prayers of the faithful along with St Boniface and All the Saints as Flanders needs cleansing inside ouut of all Post Vatican II nonsense before it destroys one of the last ramparts barring language which still holds out the Flemish people as a Catholic people but most of all, a people from whom evangelising could be done to the mass heretics in the south (mainly Walloon Brabant, Hainault and Liege).

  15. A religious in Flanders9:38 PM

    Pray for the Church in Flanders - good priests and religious still exist there and they are trying very hard to swim against the tide.Much good, even if it does not get publicity, is also being done (e.g. the 'echte liefde wacht' movement, who promote the Church's teaching on sexual morality and family life). Pray that they may be courgeous, and pray for good and holy vocations. A number of very good candidates are coming forward. Keep us all in your prayers.

  16. Peterman3:19 AM

    These ones have already placed themselves outside the Church. Most of them are excommunicated and they don't even know it nor do they care.

    Take your signed petition down to the nearest Lutheran Church and don't let the door hit you on the way out. That's the best charity I can muster.

  17. As regards the controversy about The Canonical Duty for Deacons to be celibate, Mr. Peters stirred-up a storm that lasted about a fortnight before the dust settled back down without any definitive answer being advanced by the competent authorities.

    And that is par for the Catholic Course since 1962.

    But, never forget, it is The SSPX which is the problem

  18. Gratias7:26 AM

    Have been to Bruges a few times arriving in the ferry from East Anglia. Always surrounded in mist, one could visit the most beautiful Gothic churches and convents. Seemed to me like scenes from a better world lost centuries long ago. From this article I realize we are better off in Southern California where we are allowed Diocesan sung Latin Masses with a superb choir even in the most liberal Archdiocese of Los Angeles.


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