Netherlands: Homosexual to Become Priest Next Year

Ramon Roks, 27, born as an only child in Roosendaal, the Netherlands, presents himself as "openly homosexual".

He will be ordained a priest for the diocese of 's-Hertogenbosch in 2025. Roks has been back at the seminary since January 2024. At the moment there are only two (!) students in the diocesan seminary of Sint-Janscentrum. The other seminarian is from Nigeria.

Roks' parents are atheists. But he became active in his Catholic home parish at the age of 13. When he was 18, he entered the seminary of the diocese of Breda and studied for four years. Then he began to have doubts and left the seminary to join the Franciscans in Amsterdam.

Community life didn't "suit" him and he left to live on his own, where he experienced "freedom". With his friends, he immersed himself in the nightlife of Amsterdam.

Roks continued what he considered "a good prayer life", which meant reading the breviary. At the same time, he worked with young people in a Protestant church "to experience other church structures at first hand".

The Catholic Church "allowed" Roks to give his dying aunt a blessing ("Ziekenzegen"). This is a recently invented "blessing" through which Roks' aunt was deprived of the Last Rites ("Ziekenzalving").

The idea of becoming a priest came up again. Roks spoke to the anti-Catholic bishop Gerard de Korte, 68, of 's-Hertogenbosch. Until Mgr de Korte took over in 2016, 's-Hertogenbosch was considered a reasonably Catholic diocese.

De Korte accepted Roks as a seminarian. "It is well known that I am homosexual, and I am open about it. I am different from the norm. But I have never had a relationship and I am willing to live celibate," Roks told (20 April): "I don't think my orientation is that important in this matter."

Nevertheless, Roks is already the spokesman for the 'Association of Catholic Gay Pastors' because he represents an "inclusive church".

As a priest, Roks wants to give a "blessing" to people of any orientation if they have a "good relationship". It is "not" his aim to "win a lot of souls".

He has served as a St Nicolaus [who dresses like a bishop in many European countries] and replied with a "big grin" when asked if he would like to become a bishop: "Yes, I am also an actor and can be hired as a bishop. I am already practising with a staff and a mitre. No, no joke, I really enjoy going behind people's doors like that". As St Nicolaus, he loves "the theatre, the script, the play", but becoming a bishop "shouldn't be one's ultimate goal", he believes.

Asked if he also loves "the theatre in the Church" ['versus populum' celebration], Roks replied: "I'm not going to deny that".

Benedict XVI published an instruction in 2005 that men with deep-seated homosexual tendencies cannot be admitted to the priesthood because they cannot "relate properly" to other people. "It is impossible to overlook the negative consequences that can result from the ordination of persons with deep-seated homosexual tendencies," the document explains.

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