Working Group of Catholic Gay Pastors in the Netherlands (WKHP)
Sexuality and the Roman Catholic Church are not a marriage made in heaven. On the contrary gay Catholics are often aware of, and even openly confronted with, tension and rejection when they take their sexuality to church (or even to the altar). This also goes for gay pastors.
The Working Group of Catholic Gay Pastors in the Netherlands was founded in 1980 to help its members deal with the tensions and pressures they may experience due to their sexuality and to encourage them to and emancipatory process.
The official line of the Roman Catholic Church reserves the right to a sexual relationship for heterosexual married couples only. Abstinence is the fate of all others and homosexual relationships are automatically considered sinful.
As gay pastors we do not accept the official line that “practicing” homosexuality is “intrinsically disordered” and sinful. As gay Catholics – and many others with us – we not only reject the sin doctrine, we openly oppose this view. For us homosexuality is God’s own invention, it is part of His colourful Creation, God’s gift.
The Working Group currently has eighty members: gay priests, religious people, theologians and others who are involved in pastoral work within the Roman Catholic Church. Until now all members are male, however lesbian colleagues are most welcome to join us. A number of our members belong to the Old-Catholic Church (which has a more lenient attitude towards homosexual relationships).
The aims of the Working Group are among others:
- to create a free space and a safe haven for its members, where being gay is not an issue;
- to stimulate the discussion within and outside the Roman Catholic Church about (homo)sexuality and Christian life;
- to strive for recognition of the full range of (sexual) relationships through which people can be a blessing for each other.
Twice a year we organise a nationwide conference for our members. There are also regional meetings.
Occasionally we publish a brochure. Most well known are “Called to Blessing. A Pastoral Letter on Faith and (Homo)sexuality” (1989) and “Prepared to Give Blessing. A Pastoral Letter on the Celebration of Friendship” (2000).
When there is a need for a different Catholic voice, the Working Group seeks publicity through interviews or press releases.