Let the shuffling begin

Bishop Jozef De Kesel
Bishop Jozef De Kesel

The new Archbishop of Malines-Brussels, Msgr. André-Joseph Léonard has started some reshuffling in his diocese. At his installation he announced that he would be requesting a third auxiliary bishop from Rome, so that all three vicariates of Malines-Brussels would be headed by a bishop. Today comes the news that Bishop Jozef De Kesel, auxiliary bishop and vicar general of the vicariate Brussels, has been transferred to the vicariate Flemish Brabant and Malines. For Brussels, Archbishop Léonard will request a new auxiliary. 

From the archbishop’s announcement: “I am very grateful to Msgr. Jozef De Kesel for accepting the appointment. I am very well aware that they will miss him very much in Brussels, where he was appreciated by everyone for his intelligence and wisdom. Because of his rich pastoral experience and his human as well as spiritual qualities, I think that he is the most suitable shepherd to lead the most populated vicariate of the archdiocese. The importance of his assignment is proportional to the faith I have in him. I also thank Canon Etienne Heyse for his engagement in service to the vicariate Flemish Brabant and Malines, as well as Canon Herman Cosijns for his willingess to accept the temporary appointment as diocesan vicar for the vicariate Brussels. I ask all the Catholics of the archdiocese to entrust Msgr. De Kesel’s new mission to the Lord and to pray for the one that the pope will send as auxiliary bishop for the vicariate Brussels.”   

Msgr. De Kesel said: “I have accepted the new mission entrusted to me in all faith. I thank all the people of Brussels from the bottom of my heart for their warm welcome. I have been able to feel ‘at home’ very quickly in the capital. My gratitude also goes to all the employees – priests, deacons, parish assistant and loyal laity – who with me took care for the Catholic Church in Brussels. I send my brotherly greetings to all the faithful of the vicariate Flemish Brabant and Malines and entrust my new assignment to their prayer.”  



Saint Patrick

It’s Saint Patrick’s Day today, so before the alcohol and the party mood take over, let’s take a look at Saint Paddy – sorry: Saint Patrick.

To start with, Patrick was not Irish. He was a Scotsman, had Scotland existed at the time [or Welsh, had Wales existed at the time – but he was from what is now Great Britain, that much is certain]. But in the 4th century the area was part of Pictish kingdoms which Irish people considered good hunting ground for slaves. When Patrick was 16 he was captured by these Irish slave traders and taken to Ireland. He worked as a shepherd there, but after six years he escaped, inspired by a dream that convinced him he should go to England. From there he went to the European mainland, where he studied at several monasteries. He eventually was ordained a priest and consecrated a bishop. The pope then sent Patrick back to the British Isles to evangelise them. He spent some 33 years in Ireland, during which he basically converted the entire island to Christianity. He died in County Down, now part of Northern Ireland, of natural causes.

Ireland’s monasteries subsequently became the great repositories of knowledge during the Middle Ages. Not too shabby for a slave boy.

Saint Patrick is of course the patron saints of all Ireland, but is also popular as the patron of individual dioceses in Ireland, the United States, Australia and other English-speaking countries.

A powerful prayer attributed to him is the one known as Saint Patrick’s breastplate:

I bind unto myself today
The strong name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.

I bind this day to me for ever,
By power of faith, Christ’s Incarnation;
His baptism in the Jordan River;
His death on cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spicèd tomb;
His riding up the heavenly way;
His coming at the day of doom;
I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself the power
Of the great love of the Cherubim;
The sweet ‘Well done’ in judgment hour;
The service of the Seraphim,
Confessors’ faith, Apostles’ word,
The Patriarchs’ prayers, the Prophets’ scrolls,
All good deeds done unto the Lord,
And purity of virgin souls.

I bind unto myself today
The virtues of the starlit heaven,
The glorious sun’s life-giving ray,
The whiteness of the moon at even,
The flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea,
Around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today
The power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need.
The wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, his shield to ward,
The word of God to give me speech,
His heavenly host to be my guard.

Against the demon snares of sin,
The vice that gives temptation force,
The natural lusts that war within,
The hostile men that mar my course;
Or few or many, far or nigh,
In every place and in all hours
Against their fierce hostility,
I bind to me these holy powers.

Against all Satan’s spells and wiles,
Against false words of heresy,
Against the knowledge that defiles,
Against the heart’s idolatry,
Against the wizard’s evil craft,
Against the death-wound and the burning
The choking wave and the poisoned shaft,
Protect me, Christ, till thy returning.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself the name,
The strong name of the Trinity;
By invocation of the same.
The Three in One, and One in Three,
Of whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
salvation is of Christ the Lord.

– translated by Cecil Frances Alexander (1823–1895).

Canon 915 in detail

The authors of CanonLaw.info have collected some resources for the understanding of Canon 915, which states: ‘Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion’.

The reason for the attention to this text by the American website is in the first place the discussion about whether or not politicians who support, for example, abortion, should be admitted to Communion. It’s an issue that is very much alive in the Church in the United States, but many of the arguments and explanations also apply to other people who can’t or shouldn’t receive Communion. The Code of Canon Law talks about ‘grave sin’ in Canon 915, and doesn’t distinguish between the various sins there.

A very interesting and detailed resource.