In De Kesel vs the Fraternity, a few small specks of light

de keselIn the two weeks since the blunt announcement that the Archdiocese of Mechelen-Brussels would be discontinuing all its relations with the Fraternity of the Holy Apostle, there has been much silence from said archdiocese. This despite the debate that erupted about the topic, in which commenters were almost unanimously opposed to the decision.

But despite a lack of official and public comments, Archbishop Jozef De Kesel has met with a delegation of laity, and from this some developments have emerged, Katholiek Nieuwsblad and La Libre Belgique report. Sadly, the decision of cutting all ties with the Fraternity remains, but the archbishop has had to accept a setback: dozens of people have appealed the decision, forcing at least a month’s respite. Originally, the archdiocese had announced to sever all ties by the end of June, in other words: today.

There was more positive news in the meeting: the priests attached to the church of St. Catherine can remain there while Archbishop De Kesel is in office (and, one would hope, after that). On the other hand, the archbishop is also open to another diocese, in Belgium or abroad, taking on canonical responsibility for the Fraternity. How likely that is, considering that his decision was apparently made in full agreement with the other Belgian bishops and Rome, remains anyone’s guess.

The 200-strong parish of Saint Catherine’s has extended an invitation to Archbishop De Kesel to come and visit, an invitation he has promised to accept once the storm has died down.

The archbishop and the walrus

Tiersegnung bei Hagenbecks Tierpark

Without doubt, I believe, Archbishop Stefan Heße did what no bishop before him ever did: blessing a walrus and, by extension, all the animals at Hamburg´s Hagenbeck Zoo.

The archbishop of Hamburg did so on Wednesday as part of a day program for Catholic school children in the Hamburg area around the topic of animals in the Bible. He reminded them that animals are creatures of God, and they could teach us a thing or two. In the zoo, which has never used fences and barbed wire, children can learn how to treat animals with respect, the archbishop added.

Photo credit: Daniel Bockwoldt (dpa)