Dutch bishop: Fiducia Supplicans too much ‘in tune with zeitgeist’

Bishop Rob Mutsaerts Bishop Rob Mutsaerts, auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of ’s-Hertogenbosch, in the Netherlands. | Credit: Danny Gerrits/wikiportret.nl via Wikimedia (CC-BY-SA 4.0)

A Dutch bishop has described the Vatican’s Fiducia Supplicans declaration, which permits nonliturgical blessings of homosexual couples, as an attempt to “make peace with a secular society.”

However, Auxiliary Bishop Rob Mutsaerts of the Diocese of ’s-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands warned: “Peace at the expense of morality and truth” is a “most merciless peace imaginable.”  

“God loves everyone. He loves all sinners, but he hates your sins. He fervently hopes that you will return to him, just as he hoped for the prodigal son’s return. He wants nothing more than for you to share in his love,” Mutsaerts wrote in a foreword to a new book that attacks the declaration.

Titled “The Breached Dam: The Fiducia Supplicans Surrender to the Homosexual Movement,” the book was written by José Antonio Ureta and Julio Loredo de Izcue.

Both authors are affiliated with the Tradition, Family, and Property Association. Ureta, in particular, has been a vocal critic of Pope Francis’ pontificate in recent years.

Mutsaerts has published outspoken posts on his blog, “Paarse Pepers” (Purple Peppers), since 2019. Previous posts have included sharp criticism of the Amazon synod, Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, and “cancel culture.”

In his foreword, the Dutch prelate accused Fiducia Supplicans of not addressing “the moral dimension of the relationship,” instead being more “in tune with the current zeitgeist” that fails to acknowledge that “mercy exists because sin exists.”

“Is everyone welcome? Certainly. But not unconditionally. God makes demands. The entire Bible could be summed up as a call to repentance and a promise of forgiveness. One cannot be separated from the other. Everyone is welcome, but not everyone accepts the invitation,” the 66-year-old Mutsaerts wrote.

Published just before Christmas 2023, Fiducia Supplicans has received mixed reactions and produced deep division among Catholic bishops worldwide.

While supporters have welcomed the document, critics of the controversial decree have raised different concerns, including an alleged lack of synodality and even an attempt at “cultural colonization” in Africa.

Despite clarifications by the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, the decree also caused a rift with the Coptic Orthodox Church.

Pope Francis has publicly responded to some questions raised about Fiducia Supplicans.

In an Italian TV talk show in January, the pope underlined that “the Lord blesses everyone” and that a blessing is an invitation to enter into a conversation “to see what the road is that the Lord proposes to them.”

“The Lord blesses everyone who is capable of being baptized, that is, every person,” Francis repeated

Asked if he “felt alone” after Fiducia Supplicans was met with some resistance, the 87-year-old pontiff said: “Sometimes decisions are not accepted.”

“But in most cases, when you don’t accept a decision, it’s because you don’t understand.”

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