Mr. Coen Abbenhuis, general director of the NCRV, has replied to the request of a number of Dutch Catholics to supply a proper answer to our concerns about the televised desecration of the Blessed Sacrament. The answer is or will undoubtedly be available in many other blogs, and I’ll link to one.
First thoughts on reading it: it is an apology. Mr Abbenhuis expressed his regret that the Host was taken outside, and we should welcome that apology. It is sad that he doesn’t agree that the Sacrament was used as a protest against the Church or that the impression was created that the Blessed Sacrament was going to the be thrown into a waste bin. Well, that is our word against his anyway.
The main concern I have has nothing to do with Mr. Abbenhuis and the NCRV, but rather with us Catholics. Mr. Abbenhuis writes that the Man Bijt Hond item wanted to counter the Catholic Church’s practice of excluding homosexual people from the love of Christ. That is an inaccurate assessment. Denying someone Communion because of that person’s state of sin is not simply the same as excluding someone from Christ. Anyone will realise that there are many aspects of the life of the Church in which everyone can participate.
In fact, as others have also said, preventing someone from committing a grave error is an act of mercy, which can ultimately return someone to full communion with Christ and His Church.
The idea of freedom in our society has become distorted into ‘being allowed to do anything I want’. But that is merely a definition of chaos. In His creation, God desires to bring His people to full freedom away from the mire of chaos. That requires development of ourselves, of our relationship with God and, not least, of our conscience. That development, like that of young children, takes time. We don’t throw our kids into society and let them fend for themselves. It is the same with us as Catholics. Denying something has nothing to do with exclusion, but everything with development. When a priest denies someone Communion he is saying: “You are not yet ready to receive this, the full love of Christ can’t do its work in you. Something is still blocking His love.” And that block can always be removed, but in order to do that we must first recognise it as a block. If we can’t see it, we can’t take it away.
We have a duty to always communicate the accurate teachings of the Church. If we don’t, it will result in opinions like those in Mr. Abbenhuis’s letter. If we are unclear, we can’t blame others for not understanding.