Day of the Priest to close Year of the Priest

Cardinal Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity

The Diocese of ‘s Hertogenbosch reports that it still has some places available for people wanting to attend the Day of the Priest they are organising on the 5th of July. Attendance now stands at 275, but apparently they can fit some more people in the cathedral and the theatre on the Parade in Den Bosch.

Walter Cardinal Kasper will speak and Archbishop André-Joseph Léonard will also attend. The latter is also available on Monday the 6th to enter into discussion with seminarians about the future of the Church and their role in that. Attendance is open to anyone, not just priests. Father Filip de Rycke, rector of the St. John’s Centre, the seminary in Den Bosch, says:”We hope that the Year of the Priest can contribute to a renewed interest for the priesthood, for the benefit of the growth of the Church at the start of the 21st century.”

It’s a very appealing program that they’re offering and if it was any closer I would have loved to attend. Sadly the train fair  to the other side of the country is quite prohibitive.

It makes me wonder though, large at St John’s cathedral is, if and how they’ll fit 180 priests in the sanctuary…

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What a priest does in his free time

A photo from the day for all altar servers in the Diocese of Groningen-Leeuwarden, organised on the 28th of May, showing Father Peter Wellen enjoying a slide down one of the attractions in the theme park where the day was held. Some 400 children attended the day, which included a Mass celebrated by Bishop de Korte, a lunch and ample time to play in the park. The priests present evidently joined in in the latter as well.

A Catholic tendency towards extremism?

Now that the election results are as good as in, I find what seems like a disturbing link between Catholicism and extremist views. I wonder what the reason behind that could be? Are Catholics more prone to vote right wing? Are they more susceptible to populist sloganeering? Are they just not very good thinkers? I’m generalising, of course, but the ‘evidence’ is striking.

Geert Wilders’ populist one-issue party PVV has gained a great victory nationwide (they’re the third part now, with 24 seats), but in municipalities in Limburg, the most Catholic part of the Netherlands, they are easily the largest. Maybe the fact that Wilders is from Limburg himself has something to do with that, but I wonder…

I’ve also come across other instances of Catholic intolerance and extremism, especially towards Muslims. The recent discussions about the murder of Bishop Padovese of Anatolia, which looks more and more to have been a sacrificial killing, brings out people with degrees in generalising. Examples are in the replies to this post in Father Z’s blog, and this post at Rorate Caeli.

The two situations outlined above are different, the one political, the other religious. But intolerance lies at the root of both. Maybe Catholics still feel oppressed (and in certain cases they are right to feel like that) and that they must violently oppose society’s general trends? Certain social trend deserve opposition, but surely openness  and ethical treatment of people of other faiths surely do not? We may disagree, fine, but here we see a division of “we are good and they are evil”.

It’s simplistic, dangerous and quite disconcerting.