The Dutch bishops got something special in their mail today: a black book documenting the “offensive statements and hurtful actions” of Bishop Robert Mutsaerts. The author? Father Jan Peijnenburg, the priest who was removed from active ministry last year after it became known that he had been living with his lover for the past 46 years, breaking his oath of celibacy and now his oath of obedience to his bishop.

It is a sad affair, really. and the only response it merits is one of pity. Father Peijnenburg broke his oaths and tried to be a priest without living a celibate life; an impossibility, and he knew it full well. The fact that he got away with it for 46 years is immaterial. The Church asks her priests to live celibate lives. That is not something that Bishop Mutsaerts suddenly came up with. He is merely the bishop who finally acts against those priests who do not follow the rules they agreed to follow. And that, I suppose, makes him the bad guy.

The other bishops will take note of black book and that will be all. All we can hope and pray for is that Fr. Peijnenburg will see the error of his ways, and that he will receive the help he needs in doing so.

Accompanying the black book is a ‘white book’ with ‘renewing thoughts': no doubt the same unoriginal thought that has affected the Church in this country under the misunderstood banner of ‘the spirit of Vatican II’ for the past decades.

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