Saturday, December 17, 2011

Newsflash: Latin Rite Priests Should Be Celibate

Apparently, Fr. Jan Peijnenburg of The Netherlands didn't get the memo. Not sure how I missed this one, but it seems that he'd had a "partner" for over 46 years. What's worse, he claims that the diocese knew about his girlfriend for over a decade. What is even worse than that, in my opinion, is the rationale given by the diocese for why he has to choose between her and the priesthood.

“We cannot allow him to do that which is forbidden to others.”

That's it? Nothing about vows or holy obedience or obligations to Our Lord Jesus Christ? I'm hoping very much that there's more to this or that maybe it's a bad translation.

Fr. Peijnenburg was given till December 1 to make his choice. He had pretty much announced at the time of the original article above that he was staying with his concubine. When the deadline came, it looks like he figured that ignoring the problem would make it go away. He didn't do anything, so he was suspended and removed from his admittedly limited ministry. Now, he's now wanting to take the case to court:

"I remain a priest, and cohabitant. And I contest the Bishop who has had me removed." These were the comments made by a priest who has been living with a woman for 46 years, and who lost the priesthood two days ago, because he violated (and openly admitted) the obligatory celibacy rule. He is not giving up, however, and promises a legal battle. Father JanPeijnenburg, the elderly Dutch priest who has been defrocked, wants to go even further and take his diocese before the European Court of Human Rights.

Living a "double life" for almost half a century, in his opinion, does not justify the decision of the ecclesiastical hierarchy, on the contrary, the "cohabitant priest” publicly claims the battle undertaken to obtain permission to live with his partner Threes van Dijck (who is also octogenarian). "I will take my case to the European Court of Human Rights", the former pastor announced after recently receiving the letter with which the bishop notified him that he has been suspended from the priesthood because of his refusal to abandon his domestic partner, as the diocesan ordinary officially asked him to do a month ago.

Great. And would anyone be surprised at the rest of the article's statements about how so many in the Dutch priesthood and hierarchy favor the abolition of the celibate clergy?

I don't know anyone from The Netherlands. Just what is the deal with their culture that seems to foment dissent so openly? None of this is new, as Rorate reminds us today with their post remembering The Dutch "Catechism." I'd love to hear any ideas people might have on this question.


haskovec said...

I do actually know 2 people from the Netherlands. Our impression after visiting them there is pretty much the Church has died out among the youth. I don't see it likely that there will be much of a church there in the next 50 years. And that applies to much of Europe actually i guess a consequence of socialism. The woman that we know was born Catholic but doesn't practice. I think her husbands family was protestant. It seems like all the people just live together there and most don't get married unless they decide to have children and even then it is only sometimes. These guys got married because with him coming to the US for 3 years (when we met them) she needed to be married to him to come with him on the visa.

Turgonian said...

Well, you kind of know someone from the Netherlands, and our seminaries are currently full of people in favour of celibacy -- someone at our seminary defended it in an Evangelical radio program to be broadcast tomorrow.

Anyway, when I ask exchange students from Nebraska what's the biggest difference between Dutch and American students, the answer from three different girls in different years has been substantially the same: Dutch people will voice dissent in the classroom quite bluntly. We do have a culture that encourages disagreement and criticism.

As a sidenote: our Dominicans, of course heavily influenced by the Dutch-language theologian Schillebeeckx, published a brochure 4 years ago encouraging schism and painting Holy Orders as some kind of official recognition.

Throwback said...

Turgonian is still here! I hadn't seen anything from you here or elsewhere in a while. I hope the new life is treating you well.

Schillebeeckx gives Dominicans and Dutchmen a bad name for sure. Sorry to know that he's still that influential.

Hopefully those seminaries will unleash a great renewal there in the near future. Keep up the good work.

Turgonian said...

It should be pointed out that Schillebeeckx is Flemish (Belgian), not Dutch.

The new life is treating me very well indeed. I hope to post an update soon on the DCF forum.

Throwback said...

Excellent. I look forward to reading it.