Maybe he can call down Mary to bless the event too!
June 5, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — The southern Dutch town of ’s-Hertogenbosch (Den Bosch for short) has been chosen to host the Netherlands’ “Pink Saturday” on June 24. The capital of the historically Catholic province of North-Brabant will welcome LGBT persons from all over the country and beyond with a first-ever event: an ecumenical prayer service for participants to be held in the Catholic cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist in the presence of Bishop Gerard de Korte.
The Roman Catholic bishop recently confirmed that he will give a blessing at the end of the ceremony. Gay rights groups are overjoyed. The local radio, Omroep Brabant, tweeted “Hallelujah” when the news was made public.
“Roze Zaterdag” is the Dutch version of Gay Pride, including a parade with provocative and outré dress and attitudes. Nowadays, cultural, musical and other events officially organized by the host city are thrown in, usually a full week before the day of celebration. It got its name from the protest marchers that were held during Holy Week in 1979 in Limburg, the southernmost province of the Netherlands, against the “anti-homosexual” teachings of Bishop Johannes Gijsen, who was at the time one of the few non-progressive bishops in the country.
“Pink Saturday” was chosen as a counterpoint to the Catholics’ White Thursday and Good Friday. At the time, Bishop Gijsen of Roermond said that practicing homosexuals could not be considered as “full members” of the Church because they could not receive the sacraments while choosing that lifestyle.
Given these beginnings, the Den Bosch “Pink Saturday” will have a bitter taste of revenge, and will certainly appear to be a disavowal of what Bishop Gijsen said in the 1970s.
From the start, the Dutch “Pink Saturday” was a place to push for gay rights. In progressive Netherlands, lesbians, gays, bi- and transsexuals have little left to ask for in 2017, and the event has become more festive, although there are still many gay-rights organizations present and information stands are part of the affair.
The official day always opens with an ecumenical service, but up to now this had never taken place in a Catholic church, let alone a cathedral. It was, perhaps, the last place left to conquer.
The choice of the cathedral of Den Bosch – the fruit of two years of talks with the local clergy and other denominations that are taking part – is a symbolic one. The last time homosexuals made themselves heard in the beautiful, flamboyant Gothic building was during a Sunday Mass in February 2010 when the then-parish priest in the village of Reusel refused to give Holy Communion to an openly homosexual “Carnival Prince.”
At the time, the cathedral’s parish priest, Geertjan van Rossum, made a public statement reminding the faithful that only people who observe the Ten Commandments are admitted to Holy Communion: “Proper living out of sexuality is part of that,” he said, triggering the angry departure of the gay activists.
It is the same Geertjan van Rossum who negotiated the “Pink Saturday” event in the cathedral. He will personally welcome the participants and take the lead role, surrounded by Protestant pastors and “pastoresses,” including an openly gay minister who will all speak during the ceremony. In an interview published on the “Pink Saturday” website, Father van Rossum announced that the bishop himself would take part.
“Ours is a hospitable town where all citizens should be able to live with dignity and we should not make each other’s lives sour, and that is why personally, but also in the name of our Catholic parish, we want to support this initiative,” Father van Rossum said. “We want to have a nice town for all its inhabitants and all its guests. As a Christian and as a believer, I also know there are Christians and believers who belong to the LGBT community and who also want to be involved with the community of the faithful. So as a priest, together with the cathedral parish, we also want to be involved with Pink Saturday, and also with the ecumenical celebration.”