It’s remarkable that pretty much everybody in the Netherlands seems to be thrilled with this new bishop, on the liberal as well as on the conservative sides of the Church. Perhaps because Smeets wants to bring people together and refuses to be classified as one or the other.
“To those who would like to do so, I’d say: ‘You’re welcome to try.’ But don’t be disappointed if I don’t fit the bill. I try to position myself in the middle and to be a part of the world. Because the Church and the world are not separate entities that exclude one another. The teachings of the Church are definitely important, and one should hold on to them, but it’s equally important to try and stand by people,” the bishop said.