Pierre Valkering, the Dutch priest who publicly revealed his homosexuality at the end of Sunday Mass on March 31, has given multiple interviews to the media in which he said he is “on a mission” after Pope Francis himself told him to reach out to the gay community.
“I pay attention to those people. I carry them with me in my heart. I want to tell them that and greet them,” he quotes Pope Francis as having said to him in Rome in 2016.
That was when he presented to the Pope a collection of funeral homilies for deceased homosexuals in the 1980s and 90s of another gay-friendly Dutch priest, Jan van Kilsdonk, that Valkering had compiled during a sabbatical in Rome.
Valkering says that at first Bishop Jozef Punt of Haarlem-Amsterdam was not happy about the theme of his study, but Punt did end up permitting him to leave his Amsterdam parish. While “not amused” by Valkering’s book, the priest says he did receive the bishop’s blessing on his return.
Encouraged by Pope Francis’ words (as he reported them), Valkering decided to accept an invitation to join the “interreligious boat” at the LGBT “Canal Parade” in Amsterdam – the special European edition of the Gay Pride parade in 2016.
“I thought: a field day! I had to do it,” he said. ”This way, I could implement exactly what the Pope asked me to do: to greet gay people. So I said ‘yes.’”
He talked about it with the auxiliary bishop of Haarlem-Amsterdam, even inviting him to join. The answer was “no.” And Bishop Punt ordered Valkering to stay away from the interreligious float, which boasted about the presence of Protestant pastors, both gay and lesbian, Buddhists, Jews and even a gay French imam.
A news report in August 2018 showed Valkering hesitating during the Parade: Would he join the “World Religion Boat?” Would he enter into “resistance” and go on board? Would he just wave them off? Valkering made his irritation clear against his bishop. He explained that he would decide at the last minute: “I’ll leave it to the Holy Spirit,” he said. He finally stayed on land, having abundantly embraced the gay (friendly) religious before they boarded the float.
Such wavering appears to be a part of his character. He says he hesitated until the last minute about publishing his latest book in which he unwraps his dissolute life. Why did he go forward?
“Because I felt called to do it? My existence is about God and Jesus Christ, I live with Him, He speaks in me. I wanted to listen to that deepest voice,” he said. “That which I want to promote with this book is my own healing and that of the Church. The Church is being wrecked by inauthenticity. The Church is acting fake.”
Days before the 2016 parade, Valkering fixed a poster image of his meeting with Pope Francis holding the Van Kilsdonk book and the visible rainbow on it cover, over the main entrance of his parish church, the Vredeskerk in Amsterdam. The word “Welcome” clearly invited LGBT visitors to the Dutch capital to enter the church. At the time, the gay press in the Netherlands explained that the poster was an answer to Pope Francis’ “positive message” that Valkering was supposed to transmit to homosexuals.
“The Pope asked Pierre Valkering (…) to bring over this message and to greet the people concerned. Father Valkering promised to do so. That is why there is a large banner with a picture of the meeting on the Vredeskerk since Wednesday,” wrote rozegolf.net.