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June 1, 2014 in Catholic Church in the Netherlands, World Church | Tags: archbishop bert van megen, archbishop edward gilbert, archbishop lawrence burke, bishop ad van luyn, bishop aloysius van zichem, bishop joseph oudeman, bishop wim de bekker, diocese of paramaribo, father antonius te dorshorst, missionary oblates of mary immaculate, suriname | Leave a comment
On Saturday, Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Bishop Wilhelmus de Bekker of Paramaribo. The Dutch-born prelate turned 75 on 27 April and has been the bishop of Suriname’s sole diocese for almost ten years. Father Antonius te Dorshorst has been appointed as Apostolic Administrator until a new bishop has been appointed. Like the retired bishop, Fr. Toon, of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, is also Dutch. But after 46 years in Suriname, he says, “I feel more Surinamese than Dutch.” He admits surprise at having been chosen as Administrator, considering his age (71). “I thought, I am 100 per cent safe.”
^Fr. te Dorshort and Bishop de Bekker.
Bishop de Bekker, born in Helmond in 1939, is a teacher by training. In the 1970′s he travelled to Suriname, where he studied theology and was ordained in 1985. He worked as a parish priest in Paramaribo and was appointed as the diocese’s vicar general in 1995. Upon the retirement of Bishop Aloysius van Zichem in 2003, Msgr. de Bekker became Apostolic Administrator, and a year later, in 2004, he was appointed as the new bishop. Bishop Ad van Luyn, then of Rotterdam, was the main consecrator. Archbishops Edward Gilbert of Port-of-Spain and Lawrence Burke of Kingston in Jamaica were co-consecrators.
It will be interesting to see if the successor of Bishop de Bekker will be a native son of Suriname, or, once again, a Dutch priest. Paramaribo has been a diocese since 1958 and was the Apostolic Vicariate of Dutch Guyana-Suriname between 1842 and 1958. Nine of the ten bishops and vicars apostolic who headed the Church in modern Suriname over that period were Dutch. The sole exception is Bishop de Bekker’s predecessor, Bishop van Zichem, who is now 81.
Bishop de Bekker will remain in Suriname, ready to assist the Apostolic Administrator and, presumable, the new bishop as well. He will take up residence in Groningen, which lies about 30 kilometers west of Paramaribo.
There are now two Dutch bishops active abroad: Bishop Joseph Oudeman, auxiliary of Brisbane in Australia; and Archbishop Bert van Megen, Apostolic Nuncio to Sudan.
Photo credit: Jason Leysner
May 9, 2014 in Catholic Church in the Netherlands | Tags: agostino cardinal casaroli, archbishop andré dupuy, archbishop bert van megen, archbishop silvano tomasi, benedictines, bishop ad van luyn, bishop everard de jong, bishop frans wiertz, bishop hans van den hende, bishop jan hendriks, bishop jean-pierre delville, bishop johannes bündgens, bishop theo van ruijven, bishop theodorus hoogenboom, consecration, diocese of roermond, diplomacy, heraldry, lilianne ploumen, mary, mass, peter cammaert, pietro cardinal parolin, pope john paul ii, procession, psalms, rkk, saint hubert, st. christopher cathedral, sudan, theo bovens, united nations | Leave a comment
The Diocese of Roermond has published the details of the consecration of Archbishop Bert van Megen, a week from tomorrow. The archbishop-elect has been appointed as Papal Nuncio to Sudan, the first Dutch prelate in decades to be appointed to such a function.
As announced earlier, Cardinal Pietro Parolin (pictured) will be the principal consecrator. According to the diocese, this is the first time a Vatican Secretary of State visits the Netherlands, although I wonder if that also wasn’t the case during St. John Paul II’s visit to the Netherlands in 1985, when Cardinal Agostino Casaroli held the office.
Joining Cardinal Parolin as consecrators are Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, Permanent Observer of the Holy See at the United Nations and a personal acquaintance of Archbishop-elect van Megen; and Bishop Frans Wiertz, the ordinary of Roermond, which is the diocese of which the new archbishop was a priest.
Other bishops attending the consecration will be Archbishop André Dupuy, Apostolic Nuncio to the Netherlands; Bishop Hans van den Hende (bishop of Rotterdam); Bishop Ad van Luyn (bishop emeritus of Rotterdam); Bishop Jan Hendriks (auxiliary bishop of Haarlem-Amsterdam); Bishop Johannes Bündgens (auxiliary bishop of Aachen in Germany); Bishop Everard de Jong (auxiliary bishop of Roermond) and Bishop Theodorus van Ruijven (vicar apostolic emeritus of Nekemte in Ethiopia. He now resides within the Diocese of Roermond). [EDIT: Bishops Jean-Pierre Delville (Liège) en Theodorus Hoogenboom (auxiliary of Utrecht) will also attend the consecration, it was announced on 15 May). Secular guests include the secretary for foreign trade and development, Lilianne Ploumen (assuming she won’t be calling for another disturbance of Mass…); the governor of the province of Limburg, Theo Bovens; and mayor of Roermond Peter Cammaert.
Archbishop van Megen has chosen a text from Psalm 36 as his motto: “In Lumine Tuo” (In Your light). His coat of arms is pictured at right, incorporating the stag to refer to St. Hubert (Msgr. van Megen’s full first names are Hubertus Matheus Maria). The triangle shape around the stag’s head refers to the Benedictines, with whom Msgr. van Megen has an affinity, and also to the mining history of the area from which the archbishop-elect hails. The star refers to the Blessed Virgin, and the colours red and yellow are those of the town of Megen, for which the family is named.
The consecration will take place in Roermond’s cathedral of St. Christopher, starting with a liturgical procession from the diocesan offices, beginning at 10:15. A live stream at rkk.nl will begin at 10:30
November 19, 2013 in Catholic Church in the Netherlands | Tags: bishop ad van luyn, bishop antoon hurkmans, bishop henny bomers, bishop huub ernst, bishop johannes de kok, bishop joseph lescrauwaet, communio, concilium, council of churches, diocese of 's hertogenbosch, diocese of haarlem-amsterdam, ecumenism, funeral, hans urs von balthasar, international theological commission, mass, missionaries of the sacred heart, ordination, pastoral council of noordwijkerhout, pope benedict xvi, pope john paul ii, special synod of the bishops of the netherlands, st. john the evangelist cathedral, st. john's centre, theology, twitter, university of tilburg | 3 comments
Less than two weeks ago, a short tweet from a priest friend broke the news that Bishop Joseph Frans Lescrauwaet was coming to the end of his earthly life. That end came today. At the age of 90, the retired auxiliary bishop of Haarlem leaves a heritage of study, education and engagement in numerous fields, from Church politics to ecumenism. Bishop Lescrauwaet was the second most senior Dutch bishop, with only the emeritus Bishop of Breda, Huub Ernst, before him.
Joining the congregation of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart after a youth in Amsterdam, young Jos Lescrauwaet followed his formation as a priest during the war; his philosophical studies in Stein, Diocese of Roermond, and his theology in Raalte, Archdiocese of Utrecht. His ordination in 1948 was followed by a doctoral thesis in 1957 on a topic that would mark the rest of his active ministry: ecumenism. As a theologian, he taught systematic theology at the University of Tilburg and various subjects at the seminary of his congregation, also in Tilburg.
Originally one of the contributing authors to the journal Concilium, Fr. Lescrauwaet followed the example of Joseph Ratzinger and Hans Urs von Balthasar and started writing for the more orthodox Communio. He was one of the editors of the Dutch edition of that journal when it was launched in 1976.
Bishop Lescrauwaet’s theological expertise led to several high-profile appointments. In 1969 he became a member of the International Theological Commission. He was chairman of the council of the disastrous (though not disastrous through his fault) Dutch Pastoral Council (1966-1970) and secretary and expert during the Special Synod of the Bishops of the Netherlands, called by Pope John Paul II to repair some of the damage done in previous years.
This latter function played a part in his appointment as a bishop later on as it did for most other priests involved, such as the later bishop of Rotterdam, Ad van Luyn. In 1983, Fr. Lescrauwaet (at right, pictured around that time) was appointed as Auxiliary Bishop of Haarlem and Titular Bishop of Turres Concordiae. He was consecrated by the Coadjutor Bishop of Haarlem, Msgr. Henny Bomers, appointed on the very same day as Bishop Lescrauwaet (Bishop Bomers was already a bishop, having been ordained in 1978 as Vicar Apostolic of Gimma in Ethiopia). Bishop Ernst of Breda and Bishop Jan de Kok, Auxiliary of Utrecht, served as co-conserators.
As auxiliary bishop, Msgr. Lescrauwaet was active in many fields, and not necessary always only within the Diocese of Haarlem. These activities were often ecumenical in nature. In the final years before his retirement, Bishop Lescrauwaet was a member of the board of the Dutch Council of Churches.
It is said that there have always been tensions between Bishops Bomers and Lescrauwaet, and that these were the reason for the latter’s frequent absence from the diocese. Some blame the bishop for this absence, but those who knew him personally cherished him for his pastoral acumen and his sense of humour, which was evident even when discussing the most difficult of theological concepts.
Bishop Lescrauwaet retired in 1995 at the age of 71, for reasons of age and health, and returned to the south, where he had worked and lived before his appointment to Haarlem. He moved into the diocesan seminary of the Diocese of ‘s Hertogenbosch, the St. John’s Centre, and picked up his old job of teaching theology again. He also served as spiritual counsellor of the seminary. At left, he is pictured with Bishop Antoon Hurkmans, during the celebration of his 90th birthday last year. Ultimately, in 2011, the bishop moved back to Tilburg, to live in the retirement home of his congregation.
The Diocese of Haarlem-Amsterdam announces that Bishop Lescrauwaet’s funeral will take place from the Basilica of Saint John in Den Bosch, the cathedral near which he spent most of the years since his retirement, on 23 November. The Mass starts at 10:30. The day before, faithful will have the opportunity to visit the late bishop at the St. John’s Centre, the diocesan seminary around the corner from the basilica.
Photo credit:  Bisdom Haarlem-Amsterdam,  ANP – Cor Out,  Sint-Janscentrum
October 12, 2013 in Catholic Church in the Netherlands | Tags: ad limina, adrianus cardinal simonis, bishop ad van luyn, bishop gerard de korte, bishop hans van den hende, bishop herman woorts, bishop jan hendriks, bishop jan liesen, bishop jan van burgsteden, bishop johannes de kok, bishop rob mutsaerts, bishop theodorus hoogenboom, bishop tiny muskens, bishops, conclave, curia, health, pope benedict xvi, pope francis, pope john paul ii, trouw, wim cardinal eijk | 1 comment
After many months of speculation and a few days of ever stronger rumours, it was finally confirmed yesterday. Daily newspaper Trouw enquired with the bishops and later that same day an official confirmation was released via the Church province: yes, after nine years, the Dutch bishops are making their ad limina visit to Rome.
The details: Scheduled for five days, the ad limina visit will take place from 2 to 7 December. The bishops will be received in audience by Pope Francis on 5 December. Before and after that there will be meetings with the various offices of the Curia. Every bishops will present a report about the situation in their diocese. These reports will remain confidential. A report on the Church in the Netherlands, compiled by the bishops’ conference as a whole, will be released to the public on the first day of the ad limina.
The reason for the long delay (ad limina visits should theoretically be made very five years, although it is usually longer; nine years, however, is exceptional) is given by the bishops as the backlog created by the ailing health and death of Blessed Pope John Paul II, the conclave of 2005, the time that Pope Benedict XVI needed to get started as Pope, the slower rate of visits in his later years as Holy Father, the conclave of this year and the first months of the papacy of Pope Francis.
Of the 12 or 13 bishops that make up the conference (it is yet unclear of Bishop Jan van Burgsteden is going: he is retired, but retains some functions within the conference), Six wil be making their first ad limina. Of these, two bishops are ordinaries and four auxilairies. They are Bishops Jan Hendriks, Theodorus Hoogenboom, Jan Liesen, Rob Mutsaerts, Hans van den Hende and Herman Woorts. Of the seven who are making their second ad limina, three are doing so in other functions: Cardinal Eijk was Bishop of Groningen and is now Archbishop of Utrecht (and cardinal), Bishop de Korte was Auxiliary of Utrecht and is now Bishop of Groningen-Leeuwarden, and Bishop van Burgsteden was Auxiliary of Haarlem is now Auxiliary Bishop emeritus of Haarlem-Amsterdam.
Finally, some who were there in 2004 are now absent: Cardinal Simonis has retired as Archbishop of Utrecht; Bishop Jan de Kok as Auxiliary Bishop of the same; Bishop Ad van Luyn as Bishop of Rotterdam; and Bishop Tiny Muskens as Bishop of Breda (he has passed away since).
Some of the bishops, such as Bishops Punt and Hendriks last month, as pictured at left, have met Pope Francis before, while others haven’t. Cardinal Eijk, who is leading the delegation as president of the bishop’s conference commented: “I have met Pope Francis several times, also before he became Pope. For me it is a very special occasion to now speak more closely with him about the developments in the archdiocese and our Church province. I am really looking forward to it.”
Photo credit: arsacal.nl
Happy birthday to Bishop Adrianus Herman van Luyn, who today marks his 78th birthday.
Bishop van Luyn was born in Groningen, and became a Salesian priest and later bishop of Rotterdam. He retired in 2011.
April 21, 2012 in Catholic Church in the Netherlands | Tags: adrianus cardinal simonis, archbishop andré dupuy, bishop ad van luyn, bishop antoon hurkmans, bishop gerard de korte, equestrian order of the holy sepulchre of jerusalem, father ad van der helm, father antoine bodar, father michel remery, father tjeerd visser, homily, mass, photos, ramon mangold, st. joseph cathedral | 2 comments
Today I witnessed something fairly unique, certainly for a Catholic in the north of the Netherlands: the investiture of new members of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, which took place at the cathedral of Sts. Joseph and Martin in Groningen. The choice of location was no doubt influenced by Bishop Gerard de Korte’s membership of the order.
The investiture and Mass took well over two hours. Concelebrating the Mass were Bishop Antoon Hurkmans, the Grand Prior of the Order in the Netherlands, Bishop Gerard de Korte, the ordinary of the host diocese, Bishop Ad van Luyn, emeritus of Rotterdam, and Archbishop André Dupuy, our new Nuncio. Among the new members of the Order were a handful of priests, including Father Antoine Bodar and Father Ad van der Helm, the dean of The Hague.
The whole affair also turned out to be a nice opportunity for networking, as I met photographer Ramon Mangold and, with two friends, had an animated talk with Fr. Michel Remery.
Some photographic impressions of Catholic nobility:
March 23, 2012 in World Church | Tags: bishop ad van luyn, bishop gianni ambrosio, bishop jean kockerols, bishop piotr jarecki, bishop virgil bercea, commission of the bishops' conference of the european community, european union, politics, reinhard cardinal marx | 1 comment
Following his retirement as bishop of Rotterdam, Msgr. Ad van Luyn has now also completed his six-year tenure as President of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conference of the European Community, the COMECE. Succeeding him as president of the commission that is the main channel of dialogue between the Church and the European Union is erstwhile vice-president Reinhard Cardinal Marx. The archbishop of Munich and Freising will be assisted by four vice-presidents, two more than during Bishop van Luyn’s term.
They are Bishop Gianni Ambrosio of Piacenza-Bobbio, Italy; Bishop Virgil Bercea of Oradea Mare, Romania; Bishop Piotr Jarecki, auxiliary of Warsaw, Poland; and Bishop Jean Kockerols, auxiliary of Mechelen-Brussels. Bishop Jarecki starts his third term as vice-president.
The activities of the COMECE are mainly contained to the European political arena, communicating with and about the EU on matters which touch the Church, the faith and the faithful.
December 31, 2011 in Catholic Church in the Netherlands, social media, World Church | Tags: abuse, adrianus cardinal simonis, anders breivik, archbishop andré dupuy, archbishop françois bacqué, archbishop jean-claude hollerich, archbishop rainer woelki, archbishop timothy dolan, archbishop wim eijk, archdiocese of berlin, archdiocese of luxembourg, archdiocese of mechlin-brussels, assisi 2011, beatification, belgium, bishop ad van luyn, bishop athanasius schneider, bishop cor schilder, bishop hans van den hende, bishop jan hendriks, bishop jan liesen, bishop jean kockerols, bishop jean-luc hudsyn, bishop léon lemmens, bishop rob mutsaerts, bishop roger vangheluwe, bishops, blessed titus brandsma, blog, bootcamp, consecration, deetman committee, diocese of breda, diocese of görlitz, diocese of groningen-leeuwarden, diocese of haarlem-amsterdam, diocese of rotterdam, disaster, easter, erik van goor, ewtn, extraordinary form, father herman spronck, father jan peijnenburg, father norbert van der sluis, finances, georg cardinal sterzinsky, germany, japan, joseph weterings, lent, mariënburg, mary, metropolis, music, new evangelisation, osama bin laden, papal visit, pope benedict xvi, pope john paul ii, prayer, raymond cardinal burke, salesian order, san salvator parish, social media, st. joseph cathedral, stille omgang, the passion, tom zwitser, twitter, universae ecclesiae, vatican blogmeet, vaticanum ii, world youth days | Leave a comment
As the year of Our Lord 2011 draws to a close, I happily join the ranks of the countless media channels creating overviews of the years past. And both for this blog, as well as the Catholic Church in the Netherlands and abroad, it has been a tumultuous year, both positive and negative. Taking this blog as the goggles we use to look back, blog, Church and wider world become unavoidably intertwined, but, in a way, that is how it should be.
In January, we saw the announcement of the beatification of Pope John Paul II, the resignation of Rotterdam’s Bishop Ad van Luyn being accepted, and the launch of Blessed Titus Brandsma’s Twitter adventure.
February was the month of interesting considerations by Bishop Schneider about Vatican II, shocking new developments in the abuse crisis, the announcement of a undeservedly short-lived experiment with the Extraordinary Form in the Diocese of Groningen-Leeuwarden, the first signs that all is not well in Belgium, but also three new auxiliary bishops for the Archdiocese of Malines-Brussels, and the vacancy of Berlin.
March brought us disturbing news about Bishop Cor Schilder, an extensive message for Lent from the Dutch bishops, disaster in Japan, the announcement of a great ecumenical media project for Easter, and the annual Stille Omgang in Amsterdam.
April: the month of the consecration of Bishops Kockerols, Lemmens and Hudsyn, the first EF Mass in Groningen’s cathedral, further attempts at repressing religious freedom in the Netherlands, the bishops of Belgium uniting in shock to further improprieties from Roger Vangheluwe, the pope’s birthday, further personal attacks against Archbishop Eijk and the first preparations for Madrid.
In May we saw and read about the death of Bin Laden, the beatification of John Paul II, the first Vatican blogmeet, the appointment of Bishop van den Hende to Rotterdam, the publication of Universae Ecclesiae, a prayer answered, a papal visit to Venice, enraging comments from the Salesian superior in the Netherlands, and subsequent press releases from the Salesian Order.
June was the month of papal comments about new evangelisation and sacred music, the end of EF Masses in Groningen, the pope visiting Croatia, a new bishop in Görlitz, Bishop van Luyn’s farewell to Rotterdam, advice on financial compensation for abuse victims, Archbishop Eijk taking over as president of the Dutch bishops’ conference, and the death of Cardinal Sterzinsky.
In July, Bishop Rainer Woelki went to Berlin, there was more preparation for Madrid, Bishop van den Hende was installed as bishop of Rotterdam, the pope visited San Marino, Luxembourg received a new archbishop, Bootcamp 2011 took place, Bishop Liesen appeared on EWTN, Blessed Titus Brandsma ended his Twitter adventure, and the crimes of Anders Breivik hit home for Dutch Catholics.
August was a big month because of the World Youth Days in Madrid, but we also learned about Archbishop Dolan’s explanation of the Vatican, freedom of conscience being curtailed, the 100,000th visitor of this blog, and the Liempde affair exploding in the media.
In September, the official website of the Dutch Church got a make-over, Archbishop Eijk wrote a thankyou note to the participants of the WYD, The Dutch bishops’ conference shuffled their responsibilities, and Pope Benedict visited Germany and delivered an important address to the Bundestag.
October, then, saw a successful reunion of the WYD troupe, Bishop Mutsaerts’ intervention in the ultra-liberal San Salvator parish, the bishops declining a proposal to Protestantise the Church, the consecration of Archbishop Jean-Claude Hollerich of Luxembourg, the publication of Porta Fidei and the announcement of a Year of Faith, the appointment of a new Dutch ambassador to the Holy See, the appointment of Msgr. Hendriks as auxiliary bishop of Haarlem-Amsterdam, the first Night of Mary, and Assisi 2011.
In November, Cardinal Burke came to Amsterdam, the bishops accept and put into action a plan for financial compensation for victims of sexual abuse, the Peijnenburg affair made headlines, the pope went to Benin and heartwarmingly spoke to children, priests in Belgium tempted excommunication, Cardinal Simonis turned 80, Bishop Liesen became the new bishop of Breda, and a fifty-year-old letter showed that congregations new about abuse happening in their ranks.
This final month of December, then, saw the first fifty victims of sexual abuse being able to claim financial compensation, the presentation of plans for Metropolis 2012, Nuncio Bacqué’s retirement, the consecration of Bishop Jan Hendriks, pain and horror in Liège, the appointment of Archbishop André Dupuy as new Nuncio, and the publication of the Deetman report unleashing emotional reactions everywhere.
It’s been quite the year, but one with much to be thankful for. The truth sets us free seems especially apt in this final month, but can be applied to the entire year. May 2012 be equally open, honest, but also full of blessings for the Church, the people and everyone of us.
Thank you, readers, for the continued interest. That’s incentive to keep on doing what I do here.
A happy new year, and may God bless you all.
October 1, 2011 in Uncategorized | Tags: archbishop wim eijk, bishop ad van luyn, bishop rob mutsaerts, bishop thomas dowd, film, finances, germany, god, homily, law, mass, medjugorje, msgr. georg gänswein, ordination, papal visit, politics, pope benedict xvi, statistics, translation, twitter, world youth days | Leave a comment
I think we recovered from the August dip: with 4,592 views we’re back at a level not seen since May. So that’s nice. Oddly enough, no single post was responsible for a significant percentage of those views. They’re all at fairly low numbers, from which I can only include that many people were interested in many things, if the search terms didn’t tell me otherwise. Boy, the Gänswein fan club was out in force again. Especially in the days of the papal visit to Germany, this blog lodged literally many hundreds of searches on this name or variations thereof.
Let s see if ‘Gorgeous George’ pushed any blog posts into the top 10:
1: Het opmerkzaam hart - Overwegingen over de basis van de wet 57
2: Het probleem Medjugorje 55
3: In Germany, childish behaviour before the pope comes 46
4: Impresive words from the Holy Father to the German parliament 33
5: Under the Roman Sky 31
6: Before Liempde, Bishop Mutsaerts outlines his points 29
7: A Twitter ordination, Homily at the Mass on the occasion of leaving Rotterdam 27
8: Four days before Germany, Holy Father poses the question of God 26
9: A thank you note from the archbishop 25
10: The World Youth Days’ positive result for Madrid 24
September 9, 2011 in Catholic Church in the Netherlands | Tags: archbishop wim eijk, archdiocese of utrecht, bishop ad van luyn, bishop antoon hurkmans, bishop everard de jong, bishop frans wiertz, bishop gerard de korte, bishop hans van den hende, bishop herman woorts, bishop jan liesen, bishop jan van burgsteden, bishop jos punt, bishop rob mutsaerts, bishop theodorus hoogenboom, bishops, catechesis, catholic church, catholic youth day, commission of the bishops' conference of the european community, council of the bishops' conference of europe, diocese of 's hertogenbosch, diocese of breda, diocese of rotterdam, ecumenism, education, ethics, health, homily, judaism, liturgy, marriage, media, mission, pilgrimage, thomas more foundation, vocation, world youth days | 1 comment
In the past few years, the Dutch bishops’ conference has gained four new members and lost one, and now those changes are being reflected in the responsibilities that the members have within the conference. Traditionally, each bishop is a so-called ‘referent’ for a specific field of policy. For example, my own bishop, Msgr. Gerard de Korte, is referent for matters of Church and society; he has appeared often in the media about the abuse crisis, for example, an area where Church and society meet.
Now that both the Archdiocese of Utrecht and the Diocese of ‘s-Hertogenbosch have each gained two auxiliary bishops, and the previous bishop of Rotterdam has retired, these responsibilities are being reshuffled. The changes and new responsibilities are reflected in the list below:
- Catechesis: Msgr. Rob Mutsaerts (from Msgr. de Jong)
- Church and the Elderly: Msgr. Gerard de Korte
- Church and Society: Msgr. Gerard de Korte
- Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community: Msgr. Theodorus Hoogenboom (from Msgr. van Luyn)
- Communication and Media: Msgr. Frans Wiertz
- Council of the Bishops’ Conferences of Europe: Msgr. Wim Eijk (from Msgr. van Luyn)
- Ecumenism: Msgr. Jan van Burgsteden
- Education: Msgr. Everard de Jong
- Interreligious Dialogue: Msgr. Hans van den Hende
- Liturgy: Msgr. Jan Liesen (from Msgr. Hurkmans)
- Marriage and Family: Msgr. Antoon Hurkmans
- Medical Ethics: Msgr. Wim Eijk
- Mission and Development: Msgr. Jos Punt
- New Movements: Msgr. Jan van Burgsteden
- Pilgrimages: Msgr. Herman Woorts
- Relations with Judaism: Msgr. Herman Woorts (from Msgr. van Luyn)
- Religious and Secular Institutes: Msgr. Jan van Burgsteden
- Vocation and formation: Msgr. Wim Eijk
- Women and Church: Msgr. Gerard de Korte
- Youth: Msgr. Rob Mutsaerts (from Msgr. de Jong)
One of the most striking changes for many will be the handover of the Youth portfolio from Bishop de Jong to Bishop Mutsaerts. For years, Bishop de Jong has been known as the ‘youth bishop’, a popular, enthusiastic and charismatic representative of the bishops to the young Catholics at the annual Catholic Youth Day, the international World Youth Day and other youth events. While he remains in contact with young people through his education portfolio as well as membership in the board of the the Thomas More Foundation, he will be missed by many. But who knows, maybe this will also clear the way for a somewhat more ‘serious’ direction, an appointment as ordinary of a diocese, perhaps?
His successor among the young Catholics, Bishop Mutsaerts, is relatively unknown in this specific field. Of course, he gave a great homily at last November’s Catholic Youth Day, but aside from that, there has not been much contact. I have fairly high hopes that he can be a great force for good in the formation of and engagement with the youth.
Among the other appointments, that of the theologian Bishop Liesen for Liturgy has some promise. He certainly has the international contacts that will allow him to look over the fence at how liturgy is perceived in other countries, something that the Dutch Church could do well with.
And the future? Well, perhaps another reshuffling will come in a few years. We’ll have a new bishop in Breda then, and Msgr. van Burgsteden will hopefully be enjoying his retirement, being over 75 already.