Welcome to the new nuncio

Via an official communique the press service of the Dutch bishops’ conference today published the name of the new Apostolic Nuncio to the Netherlands. He is the highly experienced Archbishop André Pierre Louis Dupuy.

Like his predecessor, Archbishop François Bacqué, whose resignation was accepted today, Archbishop Dupuy also hails from France. For the past six years, he represented the Holy See at various European Communities and since 2006 also in Monaco, where he was the first Nuncio. Msgr. Dupuy is almost 72 (reaching that age next February), so there is no change that he will match the long service of his predecessor. But that does not mean that he will be a footnote. As I mentioned above, the new Nuncio is highly experienced. As a priest, he worked in the diplomatic corps of the Holy See in Venezuela, Tanzania, the Netherlands (he’s no total stranger here then), Lebanon, Iran, Ireland en at the United Nations. In 1993, Msgr. Dupuy was consecrated to bishop and assigned as Apostolic Nuncio to Togo, Benin and Ghana. In 2000, he was sent to Venezuela, where he had repeated clashes with that country’s President Hugo Chavez. In 2005, then, he was assigned as the highest diplomatic representatives to a number of European Communities, with his offices in Uccle, Brussels. A year later, he became the same in Monaco. All in all, Archbishop Dupuy brings 37 years of diplomatic experience to The Hague’s Carnegielaan.

As bishop, Archbishop Dupuy holds the titular see of Selsey, located on England’s south coast. He is a doctor in history and canon law at the Pontifical Gregorian University. Considered a confidant of Blessed John Paul II, Archbishop Dupuy wrote a book about the development of diplomacy under this pope, titled Giovanni Paolo II e le sfide della diplomazia pontificia, published in 2004.

As canon lawyer, historian and experienced diplomat, Archbishop Dupuy can do good work here with the bishops and the entire Church in this country. Closely tied to Rome and with an eye on the international community, he will be a good fit for the Dutch situation and hopefully bring fruitful solutions to some of the problems we are facing here.

The exact details of when Archbishop Dupuy will start his work here are as yet unknown. On Tuesday, retiring Nuncio Bacqué was received by Her Majesty the Queen and decorated as Knight Grand Cross in the Order of Orange-Nassau. Cardinals Simonis and Willebrands hold or have held the same rank in that order.

For now, a heartfelt welcome to the new Apostolic Nuncio. May his years here, while understandably short, bear much good fruit.

Photo credit:Council of the European Union [cropped]


“By popular demand”, Bishop Punt’s excellent homily

More than one person, it would seem, has asked for Bishop Jos Punt’s homily, given during the consecration Mass of Bishop Jan Hendriks, to be published on the website. And so it has, as the most recent edition of the semi-regular Word of the Bishop feature. My translation is available here.

As may be expected from one of the best homilists among the Dutch bishops, it is a personal, thoughtful and passionate text. The bishop, writing as a personal friend of the newly-consecrated, paints a picture of the environment in which a new bishop finds himself, calling it “fascinating, but also dramatic”. But, speaking about the difficulties the Church may find herself in from time to time, the bishop says that we “know all too well that the Church is always holy and sinful at the same time. The Lord, after all, does not work with spirits or superhumans, but with average weak people to bring others to God. That is how it has always been.”

As one of the most striking elements of this homily, which later continues about the importance of faith and the unique Triune nature of God, the third paragraph stands out. In it, Bishop Punt speaks about the abuse crisis, and mentions that several victims – “with whom we have had much contact” – were present at the Mass.

The personal nature of the homily, which I mentioned above as coming from the personal friendship which has developed between the two bishops since their time at seminary, is also noticeable. The following anecdote is an example of that: “From our time in seminary, I remember that, shortly after my arrival, it was my turn to be acolyte. I had never been one and for years I had been estranged from the Church. I did not know what to do at all. You, and others too, tried to point me in the right direction with violent gestures and loud calls. Without much success, by the way. In the end I brought everything to the altar in one go, with the thought that it would at least all be there. By now I have  made up arrears, and we not only share the knowledge of content and form, but also a deep respect for this great sacrament of God’s presence among people.”

It’s a worthwhile read about the faith, the nature of God, the duties of bishops, the current problems we face as Christians and the unimaginable gifts that we have received.

Photo credit: Tiltenberg