Education in Extraordinary Form continues at Tiltenberg

The chapel at the Tiltenberg

Last year, the Tiltenberg seminary of the Diocese of Haarlem-Amsterdam started offering courses for priests to learn the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. Father Floris Bunschoten remains responsible for the course, and the first fruits are now becoming visible. The course is now open to seminarians in their last year, and also to priests from other dioceses. Seminarians who are not yet in their last year are welcome to learn how to serve at a Mass in the Extraordinary Form.

The first EF Mass at the chapel of the seminary will be offered in Monday 13 December.

The influence of this course is significant, since the Tiltenberg is home to students from at least three dioceses.

Brick by brick, as they say.

A sci fi Advent?

The annual Advent Action of the Catholic Church in the Netherlands takes on a new form this year, as the previous organisers threw in the towel earlier this year. The bishops now take direct responsibility and have appointed Father Matthieu Wagemaker to head the charity in which various good causes are available for parishes and individual faithful to support in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

With a new set-up there also comes a new logo. But I have to wonder where the inspiration for the design comes from…

The Advent Action logo
Starfleet logo from the Star Trek tv series and films

Something rotten

There is plenty going on among Catholics in the Netherlands, but I wonder if I have much to contribute to it via this blog.

First there are the developments that followed Bishop de Jong anti-abortion letter (which I discussed here earlier), which now mainly revolves around liberal politician Jeanine Hennis and Katholiek Nieuwsblad editor Mariska Orbán. Mrs. Hennis was among the more vocal politicians to negatively respond to the bishop’s letter, and yesterday Mrs. Orbán sent a public letter to Mrs. Hennis trying to explain her anti-abortion position. More things happened, but that’s the long and short of it. The essence of the issue, the practice of abortion, is now completely swamped with emotional responses and thoughtless behaviour from letter-writers and online Catholics alike. It’s once more what the Catholic blogosphere does best: arguing and infighting.

I think I can be excused for not wanting to be associated with that too much.

The other big issue, that of the infighting in the Dutch Latin Liturgy Society, seems to be more a case of egos than of anything substantial. There are vague accusations being thrown about of mismanagement, and threats of sharing the whole internal communication of the past year with the wide world. Also not something to be applauded for its ethical merits.

Apparently everything needs to be as public as possible. Maybe there’s a misguided sense of ‘the public have a right to know’. Well, as far as internal processes, be they positive or negative, go, I do not need to know it all. Instead, I trust that those responsible do their work, and do not need me, as Joe Public, to hold their hand and give them my blessing every step of the way.

Public sharing of things, of important issues, is a good thing. But not everything is important enough to be shared. There is such a thing as private communication.

Ardent Christian sticks it to the man

For two years now, farmer Joop van Ooijen has been fighting the man. At the heart of the argument? The roof of his farm, and more specifically the letters spelling out ‘Jezus redt’ (Jesus saves). The man, in the form of the municipality of Giessenlanden, doesn’t like that text, saying it contrasts too much with the surrounding countryside. A court order was issued, saying that Mr. van Ooijen had to remove the bright white letters. Well, he did remove the white. By painting it red and orange.

And now the court has said that he is within his rights. Giessenlanden only ordered him to remove the white letters and didn’t say anything about red and orange ones. The monthly penalty payments have had to stop, and the municipality can start all over again.

Here’s to Mr. van Ooijen and his harmless expression of faith on his own roof. He probably will have to succumb eventually, but for now I applaud his tenacity.

Of titles, deaconries and suburbican sees

Still almost a month before the  consistory of 20 November, an interesting question remains, and it probably won’t be answered until the very day of the consistory. What title churches will the new cardinals be receiving?

The College of Cardinals has its origin in the ecclesiastical structure of ancient Rome. Historically, cardinals were the deacons and priests of parishes in the old city, or bishops of small nearby dioceses, the so-called suburbican sees. Nowadays, cardinals come from all over the world, and if they don’t have some function within the curia, they usually do not live in Rome. But still new cardinals go and take possession of their title churches in or near Rome, a tradition that, not unlike the titular sees of bishops who are not ordinaries, firmly ties past and present together.

There are 33 title churches available for the 24 new cardinals who can either become cardinal priests or cardinal deacons. Cardinal priests are usually diocesan (arch)bishops somewhere, while cardinal deacons have a role in the curia. For example, Archbishops Mazombwe (Lusaka), Wuerl (Washington), Monsengwo Pasinya (Kinshasa) and Nycz (Warsaw) will be cardinal priests, and Archbishops Amato, Sarah, Burke and Koch will be cardinal deacons.

The Basilica of San Clemente is the title church of Cardinal Simonis, who is a cardinal priest

Father Z has more information.

Red Dawn

Over the past days the rumours that Pope Benedict XVI would be calling a consistory for the Feast of Christ the King (20 November) were on a significant increase, and today they were proved true. At the end of his general audience of today, which ended only a few minutes ago, the Holy Father read the list of 24 cardinals-designate, who will receive the red hat next month. Some designates are the heads of important archdioceses, others have valuable roles in the Roman curia, and there are also those who receive the title as a recognition of their work. On the whole, these men reflect Pope Benedict’s own values and wishes for the future of the Church. It is not unlikely that among these cardinals-designate is his successor.

Here is the list of the 24, in alphabetical order:

  • Archbishop Angelo Amato, S.D.B. (Italian, 72), prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints
  • Archbishop Fortunato Baldelli (Italian, 75), head of the Apostolic Penitentiary
  • Monsignor Domenico Bartolucci (Italian, 93), Emeritus director of the Sistine Chapel choir
  • Monsignor Walter Brandmuller (German, 81), Emeritus president of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences
  • Archbishop Raymond Burke (American, 62), head of the Apostolic Signatura
  • Archbishop Raul Eduardo Vela Chiriboga (Ecuadorean, 76), Emeritus Archbishop of Quito
  • Archbishop Raymundo Damasceno Assis (Brazilian, 73), Archbishop of Aparecida
  • Archbishop Velasio De Paolis (Italian, 75), president of the Prefecture of the Economic Affairs of the Holy See
  • Archbishop José Manuel Estepa Llaurens (Spanish, 84), Emeritus military ordinary of Spain
  • Archbishop Kurt Koch (Swiss, 60), president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
  • Archbishop Medardo Joseph Mazombwe (Zambian, 79), Emeritus Archbishop of Lusaka
  • Archbishop Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya (Congolese, 71), Archbishop of Kinshasa
  • Archbishop Francesco Monterisi (Italian, 76), archpriest of the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls
  • Patriarch Antonios Naguib (Egypt, 75), patriarch of Alexandria
  • Archbishop Kazimierz Nycz (Polish, 60), Archbishop of Warsaw
  • Archbishop Albert Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige Don (Sri Lankan, 62), Archbishop of Colombo
  • Archbishop Reinhard Marx (German, 57), Archbishop of Munich and Freising
  • Archbishop Mauro Piacenza (Italian, 66), prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy
  • Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi (Italian, 68), president of the Pontifical Council for Culture
  • Archbishop Paolo Romeo (Italian, 72), Archbishop of Palermo
  • Archbishop Robert Sarah (Guinean, 65), president of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum”
  • Archbishop Paolo Sardi (Italian, 76), pro-patron of the Knights of Malta
  • Archbishop Elio Sgreccia (Italian, 82), Emeritus president of the Pontifical Academy for Life
  • Archbishop Donald Wuerl (American, 69), Archbishop of Washington
Cardinal-designate Raymond L. Burke

There are some very recent appointments to the curia among these 24, such as Archbishops Koch, Piacenza and Sarah, who have all taken over from their predecessors in the last few months or even weeks. Others are not surprising at all. Archbishops Burke, Ranjith, Monsengwo Pasinya and Amato were all generally expected to become cardinals.

The Italian contingent is relatively large, which is somewhat unusual considering the trend of the past years of non-Italians  being appointed heads of councils and congregations. The non-western designates are again few in number. Personally, I had expected that to be different. Especially Asia has a number of major archdioceses which could be headed by a cardinal. Maybe next time.

Archbishop Wim Eijk, not a cardinal yet

As for the Low Countries, neither Archbishop Eijk of Utrecht nor Léonard of Brussels is on the list. Undoubtedly various people (bitter bloggers among them) will point out that this is due to them being out of favour with Rome. I expect the explanation is far simpler: both archdioceses still have active electors – Cardinals Simonis and Danneels respectively – and Pope Benedict XVI generally tends not to create new cardinals in a diocese or Church province that already has a cardinal able to participate in a conclave. Cardinal Simonis won’t turn 80 until November of next year, and Danneels won’t until June of 2013.

All the cardinals designate are now theoretically papabile, meaning they could be chosen to succeed Pope Benedict XVI, but not all of them can participate in a conclave. Bartolucci, Brandmuller, Estepa Llaurens and Sgreccia  are all over 80, and so they can’t vote. They could conceivably still be elected by their brother cardinals, but the chances of that are slim indeed.

Papal letter to the world’s seminarians

Yesterday, a surprise letter from the Holy Father to the world’s seminarians was published. Unlike some other recent letters, this was not dated to a few months back, but rather to the feast of Saint Luke, which was yesterday. That gives the impression that it is a very recent effort from the pope, in part (possibly) due to the current crisis in the Church. Seminarians everywhere will have to explain sometimes why they would want to join the priesthood which, some sources would want to have us believe, is rife with sexual abuse and others aberrations.

Read the original letter in English here, and my translation here.

USCCB offers worship aids for upcoming life vigil

A link to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ page about the upcoming Vigil for All Nascent Human Life that Pope Benedict XVI has urged all diocesan bishops in the world to organise and preside over on 27 November. The USCCB offers some helpful worship aids for parishes to organise said vigil. The vigil coincides with the first Vespers of Advent, and so is firmly part of the lead-up to the new Church year. Perhaps it can be the start of renewed focus on the defense of all human life, from conception to natural death, especially in those countries and areas where that has been lacking. I hope that bishops, priests and laity take the invitation of the pope seriously and will unite in prayer with their brothers and sisters all over the world at the start of Advent.

Pope Shenouda III in Haarlem

On Saturday, Pope Shenouda III visited his Coptic flock in the Netherlands. The heavily secured church meeting in the Basilica of St. Bavo in Haarlem was very well-attended and took place in the presence of both the ordinary and the auxiliary of Haarlem-Amsterdam, Monsignores Jos Punt and Jan van Burgsteden.

Pope Shenouda and Bishop Punt

In a long address to the Coptic faithful in the Netherlands, Pope Shenouda urged them to keep the faith of their homeland. A more extensive photo gallery can be viewed here.