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Bishop Jos Punt of Haarlem-Amsterdam was in Rome last week, where he met with officials of the Secretariat of State and a number of Congregations. He also met with Pope Benedict, with whom he spoke about recent developments in the Church in the Netherlands, as well as other topics.

There’s one conversation I would have loved to have heard…

Pope Benedict is not unfamiliar with the Dutch Church. He is able to speak Dutch with a certain degree of fluency, and considers himself a ‘spiritual architect’ of the Rolduc seminary in the Diocese of Roermond, the first of its kind in the Netherlands after Vatican II when it was established in 1974 by Bishop Jo Gijssen.

"Take this and eat it?" Then-Cardinal Ratzinger and Bishop Gijsen at Rolduc in 1982

Source: Diocese of Haarlem-Amsterdam and RKK.nl

There has been some significant reporting in the media about the abuse cases that have been revealed to have taken place in a boarding school run by the Salesians of Don Bosco in the 1960s and 1970s. I have refrained from reporting on it until now, in part because I’m waiting for the letter that Pope Benedict has written to the faithful of Ireland. It is rumoured that, following the abuse cases in Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands, that letter will be aimed at faithful everywhere, and not just to those in Ireland. A publication is expected sometime this week. 

Bishop van Luyn

 

Yesterday, Bishop Ad van Luyn of Rotterdam, chairman of the Dutch bishops’ conference, has spoken about the case on TV. The bishops’ conference is meeting about this topic tomorrow, so the statement from Msgr. van Luyn are nothing more than his own opinion. 

He said, among other things: “It is the duty of the Church to condemn this abuse clearly and forever, and also to offer apologies and to take any steps to assure prevention in the future.” 

“Personally, I am convinced that an independent investigation would best meet the justified expectations of the victims, society and also the church community.” 

To the victims he said: “I think that, in the first place, the victims should meet with those now responsible for those institutions where these things happened. A meeting that is both honest and transparent, that leads to recognition of the facts, that leads to apologies for the suffering afflicted, and that leads to compensation where possible.” 

From Rome, Cardinal Kasper has spoken especially forcefully against child abuse by clerics. he called it “criminal, shameful and unacceptable,” and indicated that the pope will be acting decisively, as he did towards the case in Ireland, where several bishops were called to step down because of their silence.

In his blog, Sean Cardinal O’Malley, archbishop of Boston, writes about his recent visit to Haiti. On behalf of the Church, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops coordinates the relief efforts in that country, and Cardinal O’Malley is a member of a 5-person committee that is to assess the needs of the Church there.

There is still a lot of need for aid in Haiti. As the cardinal writes: “Port-au-Prince is a disaster area. There’s no water, electricity, or basic services.” Many people still live outside in tents, cars or other temporary shelters.

It is good to see that the Catholic Church, together with the international community, makes such a difference in a country on the edge of chaos, and continuing to do so.

Cardinal Seán, as he refers to himself in his blog, offers a great example of social media use by a prelate of the Church. He very regularly updates his blog – usually every Friday – with very simple reports of what he has been doing in the week preceding. It’s at the same time local (concerning the Archdiocese of Boston) and international (not just because of the cardinal’s work in Haiti and his many contacts in Latin America, but also because he is a Franciscan, usually walking around in the simple brown habit of his order. Even in his office of archbishop and as a cardinal, he manages to personify the simple spirituality of St. Francis). A simple and effective way of reaching out to people.

About this blog

I am a Dutch Catholic from the north of the Netherlands. In this blog I wish to provide accurate information on current affairs in the Church and the relation with society. It is important for Catholics to have knowledge about their own faith and Church, especially since these are frequently misrepresented in many places. My blog has two directions, although I use only English in my writings: on the one hand, I want to inform Dutch faithful - hence the presence of a page with Dutch translations of texts which I consider interesting or important -, and on the other hand, I want to inform the wider world of what is going on in the Church in the Netherlands.

It is sometimes tempting to be too negative about such topics. I don't want to do that: my approach is an inherently positive one, and loyal to the Magisterium of the Church. In many quarters this is an unfamiliar idea: criticism is often the standard approach to the Church, her bishops and priests and other representatives. I will be critical when that is warranted, but it is not my standard approach.

For a personal account about my reasons for becoming and remaining Catholic, go read my story: Why am I Catholic?

Copyright

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Netherlands License.

The above means that I have the right to be recognised as the author of both the original blog posts, as well as any translations I make. Everyone is free to share my content, but with credit in the form of my name or a link to my blog.

Blog and media

Over the years, my blog posts have been picked up by various other blogs, websites and media outlets.

A complete list would be prohibitively long, so I'll limit myself to mentioning The Anchoress, Anton de Wit, Bisdom Haarlem-Amsterdam, The Break/SQPN, Caritas in Veritate, Catholic Culture, The Catholic Herald, EWTN, Fr. Ray Blake's Blog, Fr. Z's Blog, The Hermeneutic of Continuity, Katholiek Gezin, Katholiek.nl, National Catholic Register, National Catholic Reporter, New Liturgical Movement, NOS, Protect the Pope, Reformatorisch Dagblad, The Remnant, RKS Ariëns, Rorate Caeli, The Spectator, Vatican Insider, Voorhof and Whispers in the Loggia.

All links to, quotations of and use as source material of my blog posts is greatly appreciated. It's what I blog for: to further awareness and knowledge in a positive critical spirit. Credits are equally liked, of course.

Blog posts have also been used as sources for various Wikipedia articles, among them those on Archbishop Pierre-Marie Carré, Archbishop André-Joseph Léonard, Bishop Athanasius Schneider, Archbishop Sergio Utleg and Rainer Maria Cardinal Woelki.

Latest translations added:

IN PROGRESS

[Dutch] Internationale Theologencommissie - Sensus Fidei in het Leven van de Kerk.

30 June: [Dutch] Paus Franciscus - Boodschap voor het Katholieke Jongerenfestival.

19 June: [Dutch] Paus Franciscus - Interview in La Vanguardia.

18 May: [English] Pietro Cardinal Parolin - Homily at the consecration of Archbishop van Megen.

15 May: [English] Ane Hähnig - Interview with Michael Triegel.

3 May: [Dutch] Paus Franciscus - Boodschap voor de Wereldgebedsdag voor Roepingen 2014.

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This blog is a voluntary and free effort. I don't get paid for it, and money is never the main motivator for me to write the things I write.

But, since time is money, as they say, I am most certainly open to donations from readers who enjoy my writings or who agree with me that it communicating the faith and the news that directly affects us as Catholics, is a good thing.

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Sancta Maria, hortus conclusus, ora pro nobis!

Sancte Ramon de Peñafort, ora pro nobis!

Pope Francis

Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Jesus Christ, Successor of the Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Primate of Italy, Metropolitan Archbishop of the Province of Rome, Sovereign of the Vatican City State, Servant of the Servants of God

Bishop Gerard de Korte

Bishop of Groningen-Leeuwarden

Willem Cardinal Eijk

Cardinal-Priest of San Callisto, Metropolitan Archbishop of Utrecht

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