Bishop de Jong’s painful truths

Msgr. Everard de Jong, auxiliary bishop of Roermond, has written a letter to the members of the Dutch parliament, in which he calls for a full ban on abortion. Media and MPs are giving him a lot of grief for it, of course, but that is the result of such painful truths. He mentions the 1 million murdered babies since the Pregnancy Termination Act was introduced in 1981, the paradox of condemnation of murdered children and acceptance – even promotion – of the death of the unborn, the arbitrary nature of when a human being is a human being, and the fact that new generations are not allowed life.

It is a passionate and confrontational letter, but also an honest and open one. It’s a sad sign of the times that the instinctive response is one of anger and hate instead of an adult consideration of the points raised by the bishop.

Read the original text (PDF) or my translation.

Bishop of Ghent twitters for new faithful

Below is a translation I made upon request for SQPN, about the tentative first steps of the Diocese of Ghent into the ‘digital continent’. The original Dutch text is here.

It’s a positive development, although still on a small scale. Dioceses and movement on Facebook and Twitter are a great opportunity to evangelise and break through the dictatorship of relativism that prevails there. Hopefully, these efforts can soon expand to be fully effective.

Anyway, the text:

GHENT – Twittering with the bishop of Ghent, or becoming a friend of the diocese on Facebook? That should be no problem, Bishop Luc Van Looy himself thinks: “Starting in October, the Diocese of Ghent, as the first in our country, will start experimenting professionally with new media.”

“That’s actually what we’ve been doing for 2,000 years,” Van Looy says. “And also more recent. When I was a missionary I used slides and 12mm films when those weren’t standard yet in schools here.”

But even though the Church was fairly quick at discovering the Internet – the Vatican very soon had a well-developed website – the recent digital developments have somewhat passed her by, Van Looy admits. “There are individuals in the Church who are working with it. But now we want to let our voice be heard as a diocese in these digital meeting places.

On Facebook alone, there are as many users as the population of an entire continent, the diocese points out. “The Church has always had the tradition of going to these people, but we are barely present in the digital community that is Facebook. But there are millions of people there. Especially young people, who we can engage there in their own language.”

According to Van Looy, the diocese does not intend to simply win souls on social network sites such as Facebook, Netlog or Twitter. “That is not how it works. But there are a lot of people there who are curious and interested in what we have to offer as Church. We can reach out to them dynamically. Creating our own Facebook page and post messages there and enter into dialogue: why not? And why not Twitter during and about, for example, Lent?”