A Polish priest, who had been working in Belgium for ten years, was sent back to Poland at the instigation of Mgr. Bonny, bishop of Antwerp. He was insufficiently reconciled with the heterodox church government that now prevails in many places and dared to stand up for Catholic views that go against the views of the local bishop. Below is the letter from the priest in question to his colleagues in Belgium. (Own translation from Dutch).
Dear brothers in the priesthood,
At the time of writing this letter, I am already in Warsaw, Poland.
I would like to inform you that my superiors in Belgium have decided that I will leave the community in Antwerp. One of the essential arguments presented was the fact that I am not a good example for you, priests who come to Belgium from abroad and who attend the Amandus meetings (1). This argument was supported by the statement that I am not in line with the Belgian priests and the local bishop, being Mgr. Johan Bonny. This has to do, among other things, with my letter that I wrote to the Belgian priests who, despite the permission of the authorities, did not offer the Eucharist (2) (mail of 25.02.2021).
My confreres also know my position regarding the public statements of Mgr. Bonny on the teachings of the Catholic Church on the blessing of same-sex couples, as well as his criticism of what the word of God and the teaching of the Church tell us in that matter. Dear brethren, I ask you to remain strong in what the word of God tells us. Do not be misled by those who think they know better than the word of God. Exhort those who think they know better than the word of God and the Church. Luther, Calvin and Zwingli thought the same. Brethren, stay one with the Church and save all those who would stray from this way, even if this were a Bishop. Witness faith in the word of God and the teachings of the Church.
He who remains silent and does not proclaim the truth allows the darkness of lies to spread further.
That is why Christ prayed to his Father for unity of the Church, and those who do not remain in this unity oppose Christ.
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and attach himself to his wife” (Mt 19:5-6). The word of God does not say “to his wife or man”. When in doubt, Jesus says to us, “In the beginning it was not so” (Mt 19:8). This means that God’s plan was like this and no other and let’s stick to it despite all the difficulties. If this not done, then this is not good for those who participate in this, the society as a whole, as well as for the generations to come. If we think we know better than God, isn’t our thinking diabolical? We should not bless these relationships because we cannot lie to these people that they are on the right track. They need our support that was not sufficiently present. But we cannot lie that this path is the right one.
The Church’s concern is not about consenting to sin, but about healing. No one who has kidney disease will say that he was born that way and will stay that way. In such a case, everyone would wish and seek complete healing, so it is with all other health problems, both physical and psychological. We try to heal everything. So why shouldn’t this also relate to the problems we are talking about? The real care and love for man is accompanied by the care for the Spirit of God in man, the concern for returning to what is God’s own. To sin, in Hebrew “hatat”, means to miss the target, not reach the target. Do we get to the goal when we step away from god’s plan?
I wish you common sense, true faith, a deep covenant with Christ, and God’s blessing in fulfilling your service as those who proclaim salvation in Christ. I will think of you in my prayers. Let us pray together for the Bishop, entrusting him to the care of Our Lady so that he may be an example of trust in God and that he may not succumb to the cult of one’s own idea or myopia.
Myopia narrowing God’s horizons and not listening to faith, reason, or doctrine, leading one astray and leading others astray. Think of the mutual responsibility that the Lord entrusts to you. I thank you for the time we spent together, for your testimony of faith and all the good.
Br. Rafał Chwedoruk OFMCap
(1) Saint Amandus: Church of the Seefhoek district of Antwerp.
(2) At the height of the Covid crisis in Belgium, the government had banned all worship services with more than 10 people.