A clarification about song censorship

Because of the current international events in the Church and the dust-up between Archbishop Eijk and Bishop de Korte, national news service ANP suddenly display an interest in the monthly meetings of the bishops’ conference. After the latest one, which took place yesterday, they asked Bishop de Korte some questions. Most interesting are the questions relating to the confusion about the work of the two diocesan censors: Auxiliary Bishop Herman Woorts in Utrecht and Father Cor Mennen in ‘s Hertogenbosch.

ANP asked Bishop de Korte why the discussion about this was so fierce. He answers:

 “The songs from the Sunday missalettes, the liturgy booklets used in the service, have been examined by two diocesan censors. In this case a censor of the Diocese of ‘s Hertogenbosch and one of the Archdiocese of Utrecht. Every bishop is free to submit to an examination. About some songs it has now been said that they are less suitable for the service. Media reports created the image that the rejected songs were not allowed to be sung in any diocese. That caused unrest in my diocese.”

The songs may still be sung?

“Yes, until the Dutch bishops formulate a new policy together. That is what was discussed yesterday during the meeting of the bishops. The work of the censors concerns the booklets published in their dioceses but does not have national implications. Every diocesan bishop has his own responsibility for liturgical policy. The so-called ‘rejected’ songs can therefore still be sung by choirs in the Diocese of Groningen-Leeuwarden. They are also in the other collection of music used in many parishes.”

The bishop’s explanation is not unlike my assumptions earlier. The situation does, once more, outline the importance of clear communication to the faithful in every diocese. This caused unrest which was very much avoidable.

About the disagreement between him and the archbishop, Bishop de Korte admitted there was some old pain between them. They, together with the two auxiliaries of Utrecht, will meet and talk it out. “We realise we are faced with a very different, great challenge: the sexual abuse file. So good cooperation between us now has the highest priority,” the bishop said. And so it should be.


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