Gay priest, beloved in Limmen, wins from diocese and is allowed to perform church services again

“Absolutely surprising,” Jan Veldt (90) calls it, that he can lead church services in Limmen again. The diocese banned him from leading Eucharist celebrations at the end of last year. But the combative, retired priest did not simply allow himself to be dismissed and filed an appeal. The ecclesiastical court revoked the sanctions.

Jan Veldt, himself homosexual, was ordained as a priest in 1960. He has now been retired for some time, but he remains a welcome face in the Cornelius Church of Limmen, among others. He is therefore regularly asked to supervise Eucharist celebrations.

In 2021, a decree will be issued from Rome, with the message that gay relationships should not be blessed. It leads to international protest and many priests ignore the call. Priest Veldt, who blessed a homosexual couple in 2010, is also protesting. He decides that same year – on his 88th birthday – to have one Agapé celebration to be held at the Amsterdam gay monument, next to the Westerkerk. A prayer of thanksgiving that expresses the connection between those present and God.

In 2022, the diocese of Haarlem-Amsterdam decides to ban the retired priest’s masses. He would not sufficiently support Catholic doctrine and lifestyle as the ‘founding father’ of the Roman Catholic gay emancipation foundation.

Celibate until retirement

“I lived celibate until after my retirement,” Veldt responds. “It wasn’t until I was in my 70s that I met a very nice man. We clicked and that grew into a very nice relationship.”

As a child, he would much rather play ‘altar boy’ or ‘priest’ than help out on the farm. “As a priest you choose a celibate life and I have been very happy throughout that life. By being close to people, offering them joy and comfort.”

No more taboo

He is therefore grateful that the restrictions have been withdrawn. “I used to have to keep a secret, but those were fundamentally different times,” he continues. “Fortunately, a process of change has begun, as a result of which homosexuality has become open to discussion in recent years. I continue to stand up for LGBT rights and emancipation and make no secret of the fact that I am homosexual. In this way I reach a lot of people.”

The next Eucharist celebration with Father Veldt is on November 26. Churchgoers will therefore have to be patient for a while. “The news only became known in Limmen last weekend and I have received many positive reactions. This will also be the first time for me in the renovated church. This way I have some time to let everything sink in.”