No dissolution of the Holy Apostles’ Fraternity! Maintain it within the Belgian Church!
Cette pétition avait 3 540 signataires
Petition to Archbishop Mgr. J. De Kesel of Malines-Brussels, General Superior of the Fraternity of the Holy Apostles, as well as to the Episcopal Conference of Belgium.
The Fraternity of the Holy Apostles was legitimately established in the Malines-Brussels Archdiocese on 7th April 2013. It cannot be legitimately expelled without serious motives.
Consequently we ask you, and we insist that this Fraternity, which currently undertakes with great evangelical fervour all the pastoral care, apostolate and outreach entrusted to it within the Parish of Saint Catherine (Brussels), be allowed to continue its ministry in line with its spirit, grace and charisma.
The presence of this community of priests and seminarians in our neighborhoods, along with their specific charisma, is an answer to pressing spiritual, liturgical and sacramental needs. The fraternity's apostolate of welcome and assistance to all in a spirit of brotherhood open to the whole world is edifying. The undeniable fecundity of the Fraternity is generating those long awaited and much prayed-for vocations.
May you continue to host this apostolic community within the Church of Belgium in compliance with its statutes and of Canon Law, and listen to the voices of the faithful signatories of this petition, concerned about the future of Christianity at the heart of Europe.
We thank you for considering our request favourably.
Your signature counts!
Explanation and latest developments
On 15th June 2016, Archbishop J. De Kesel of Malines-Brussels (Belgium) issued a statement whereby he had decided, with the consent of all Belgian Bishops as well as that of the relevant Holy See authorities, to no longer welcome or host the Fraternity of the Holy Apostles (FSA) in his Diocese as of the end of June 2016.
To be clear, this announcement was giving them just 15 days’ notice to pack up and leave the country.
Reason given: “solidarity” with the Bishops of France whose Dioceses “suffer from a severe shortage of priests”.
This came as a massive shock to the priests and seminarians (Belgian, French, Brazilian, Polish) as well as to the parishioners and friends in the wider local community of the Brussels churches of St. Catherine and St. Joseph who over the last two years have enjoyed the very real fruits arising from the ardour and contagious devotion of all the priests and seminarians of this very promising young fraternity.
113 canonical appeals have been lodged with Archbishop Mgr De Kesel. As there has not been any response from him, these appeals have now been transferred to the Congregation for the Clergy requesting the repeal and reversal of this illegitimate decision. While all the FSA members have been away for their Summer missions and many parishioners away on holidays, and just as our petition had been launched, Archbishop De Kesel published a new decree on 15th July announcing the immediate dissolution of the FSA, as well as the expulsion of all the seminarians. We are totally devastated by this news, but we will not give up.
The FSA was founded by Bishop Léonard in 2013 when he was Archbishop of the Malines-Brussels Diocese. The Fraternity is currently made up of 27 members (21 living in Belgium), of which 6 priests (3 Belgians and 3 French), 1 deacon and 20 seminarians. The Fraternity was installed in two churches which went on to flourish extremely rapidly as parishes. In the case of St. Catherine, a large and historic church in the heart of Brussels, the revival was so spectacular that it made the headlines; as the church had previously been closed for three years with a view to its deconsecration by the Brussels religious and political authorities.
The apostolic zeal of the young FSA priests and seminarians who joined them at weekends rapidly lay the foundations of a large new enthusiastic community of parishioners from all backgrounds, all ages, including many families and single or older people. Here, anyone attracted by the goodness and holiness of the Fraternity could find a place of prayer, healing and particular devotion to the Virgin Mary along with a rich religious fervour and wider brotherhood which delighted passers-by and residents alike.
While the priests who have been incardinated here may remain in the Diocese, and the seminarians may request admission to the seminary on an individual basis; it is very clear that the Fraternity of the Holy Apostles as such, no longer has the possibility to remain in the country where it was born as it has been dissolved: it is thus that our own Bishops are destroying the very birthplace where young vocations had taken root and found their daily support in Belgium.
Over 200 parishioners, friends and sympathizers of the FSA, Saint Catherine and Saint Joseph have lodged yet another appeal with Mgr De Kesel asking him to repeal and revoke his latest decision. Our petition aims to strengthen this procedure which is all the more urgent due to the fact that this decision runs contrary to Church law. Indeed, Church law forbids any Bishop from expelling his seminarians without extremely serious reason, or from dissolving a canonically established association from his Diocese unless there is very serious and grave cause to do so. In addition, the FSA statutes state that its general assembly of priests must itself agree to any change to the association’s seat. This has not been respected either.
While logically incomprehensible and legally invalid, this decision, spiritually speaking, undermines and infringes the priesthood and its new face at the very heart of our secularized culture. Indeed, our eternal life and that of our children are closely linked to the gift all priests are prepared to make of their own lives. This is why we would like all our brothers and sisters in the Universal Church to be associated to this petition so that together we may defend these new shoots of recovery which our Church has so long awaited and which the Virgin at Fatima promised when she said, “In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph!”
Pétitions à la une
Pierre compte sur vous aujourd'hui
Pierre HARGOT a besoin de votre aide pour sa pétition “Archbishop Mgr. J. De Kesel: No dissolution of the Holy Apostles’ Fraternity! Maintain it within the Belgian Church!”. Rejoignez Pierre et 3 539 signataires.