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I watched the interview with Archbishop Wim Eijk on TV last night, and while there was much information that we already knew, I generally liked the impression that the archbishop gave. A self-proclaimed hesitant media figure – he does not like giving interviews – he came across as serious, knowledgeable and firm, while some personal touches did shine through.

I won’t go over the reasons for his past decisions here – those have been covered extensively elsewhere – but some quotes are worth taking a look at.

On his decisive style of management, he said

I am someone who is decisive, yes. I discuss well, I orient myself. I first try to get a good picture of what is going on, or else you can’t take any decisions. I think I’m also very clear in that, in what I want. I am also someone who knows what he wants, that also makes a difference, of course.

No, avoiding conflicts is not my nature, not at all. On the contrary, I believe that if you ignore a problem, it will come back later with double the force. No, you really must deal with a problem.

See, management… in the first place it is a matter of common sense. Just using your common sense. And in the second place you have to take good advice. [...]  You absolutely have to delegate certain things, some things you simply can’t do yourself. But I am ultimately a manager who is the spider in the web.

That’s certainly the unpopular position to take in our culture. But the fact remains that the Church is not a democracy. As the archbishop also said, the Church works with a one-man responsibility. He is the man, he has the responsibility.

On the criticism against his unpopular decisions:

Cutting and reorganising are never fun. At a certain point it becomes a fact, and people can’t deny it any longer [...] And for those concerned it is never enjoyable. But, no matter you bring the message, it is still a bad message. But I think that people sometimes say things without really having full knowledge.

I agree. Most of the emotional outpouring following some of the archbishop’s decisions were not based in a through knowledge of the case. Not that that makes them less valid, though.

On the letter that a few emeritus priests wrote to him, and which they made public:

See, there are numerous ways in which, and people do that, in which you can offer criticism, and ask questions.

Did you blame them?

Yes, I do blame them.

Like the Stienstra case, it is simply not ethical to make a personal disagreement public. It doesn’t do anything to reach a solution, so the only point can be to play the blame game.

On the disagreement with Bishop de Korte about closing the Ariënskonvikt:

We have spoken extensively about it together. I also explained to him why it was necessary en we decided to – he did hear before I told the students, but in the end we spoke about it and we also decided  not to discuss it publically.

This actually made me quite happy. It’s no fun to know that your former and your current bishop are arguing about something. 

On the Stienstra case:

Well, see, I think Ms Stienstra was rather fond of the Ariënskonvikt, for valid personal reasons. See, of course you can criticise the decisions of an institute, en perhaps also the way in which they are made. That is all possible. But what you obviously can’t do is say that false motives were used. [...]  You are actually saying that the bishops lies. The word wasn’t used, but it did come down to that.

On his public image of a cold manager:

When I go to parishes people say “up close you’re not so bad.” The really appreciate the Eucharistic celebrations and i also hear, via my driver and others that the appearance is appreciated.

That’s certainly how I got to know the archbishop. He is a very pleasant, pastoral man when you talk to him face to face.

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?

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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.

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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.

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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:

4 April: [English] Pope Francis - Interview with Belgian youth.

25 February: [Dutch] Paus Franciscus - Brief aan de Gezinnen.

24 February: [Dutch] Raymond Kardinaal Burke - De radicale oproep van de paus tot de nieuwe evangelisatie.
De focus van Paus Franciscus op liefde en praktische pastorale zorg in de grotere context van de Schrift en de leer van de Kerk.

21 February: [Dutch] Aartsbisschop Angelo Becciu - Brief aan de Nederlandse studenten.
Namens paus Franciscus reageert de Substituut van het Staatsecretariaat op pausgroet.tk.

20 February: [Dutch] Paus Franciscus - Welkomstwoord op het Consistorie.
De paus begroet de kardinalen voor het 11e Buitengewone Consistorie, en vat de doelstellingen kort samen.

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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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