Emeritus Bär of Rotterdam admitted to hospital

A short message on the website of the Diocese of Rotterdam announces that Msgr. Philippe Bär OSB, emeritus bishop of Rotterdam, has been admitted to hospital because of heart problems “which require surgical attention”. It does not seem to be too urgent, since the surgery is set to take place “one of these days”, but a long period of recovery “is expected”. The bishop is said to appreciate any prayer for his recuperation.

82-year-old Bishop Bär lives in the Benedictine monastery of Chevetogne in Belgium. He was auxiliary bishop of Rotterdam from 1982 to 1983 and bishop of the same diocese from 1983 to 1993. During that time he was also military vicar, and later military ordinary, of the Netherlands.

Well wishes may be sent to:

Monastère Bénédictin
Rue du monastère 65
B – 5590 – Chevetogne

A new shepherd for the Ukrainians

On the day that the new patriarch of the Maronite Catholics was enthroned, another major church in full communion with Rome receives a new head as well. After is election on Thursday, the name of the new Metropolitan Archbishop of Kyiv-Halyč and President of the Synod of the Ukrainian Catholic Church was revealed today. And it is the name of the fourth-youngest bishop in the whole of the Catholic Church: almost 40-year-old Sviatoslav Shevchuk.

The Ukrainian Byzantine Church has at least 4 million members in 18 dioceses, 5 archdioceses and 6 exarchates spread across the Ukraine, the United States, Canada, Poland, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Germany, Norway, Finland, Sweden, France and the United Kingdom. Until February of this year, the helm of this Byzantine fold of the Catholic Church was in the hands of Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, who held the post since 2004. New Archbishop Shevchuk was  auxiliary bishop of the Argentine diocese from 2009 to early 2010, after which he oversaw that same diocese as apostolic administrator until his election to Kyiv-Halyč.

So another new player enters the field and, considering his young age, will continue to have an influence for decades to come.

EDIT: Two days after his enthronement, Archbishop Shevchuk said that he would ask Pope Benedict XVI to elevate the Ukrainain Church to a patriarchate, saying that “each developing church [becomes] a patriarchate, because a patriarchate is a period in the completion of the development of a church.” If the pope will grant this, remains to be seen. Possible opposition from the Orthodox Church is said to have been a reason for Pope John Paul II to not yet grant this wish, which was also expressed by Cardinal Husar.

Photo credit: REUTERS/Konstantin Chernichkin