Looking behind

As the year of Our Lord 2011 draws to a close, I happily join the ranks of the countless media channels creating overviews of the years past. And both for this blog, as well as the Catholic Church in the Netherlands and abroad, it has been a tumultuous year, both positive and negative. Taking this blog as the goggles we use to look back, blog, Church and wider world become unavoidably intertwined, but, in a way, that is how it should be.

In January, we saw the announcement of the beatification of Pope John Paul II, the resignation of Rotterdam’s Bishop Ad van Luyn being accepted, and the launch of Blessed Titus Brandsma’s Twitter adventure.

February was the month of interesting considerations by Bishop Schneider about Vatican II, shocking new developments in the abuse crisis, the announcement of a undeservedly short-lived experiment with the Extraordinary Form in the Diocese of Groningen-Leeuwarden, the first signs that all is not well in Belgium, but also three new auxiliary bishops for the Archdiocese of Malines-Brussels, and the vacancy of Berlin.

March brought us disturbing news about Bishop Cor Schilder, an extensive message for Lent from the Dutch bishops, disaster in Japan, the announcement of a great ecumenical media project for Easter, and the annual Stille Omgang in Amsterdam.

April: the month of the consecration of Bishops Kockerols, Lemmens and Hudsyn, the first EF Mass in Groningen’s cathedral, further attempts at repressing religious freedom in the Netherlands, the bishops of Belgium uniting in shock to further improprieties from Roger Vangheluwe, the pope’s birthday, further personal attacks against Archbishop Eijk and the first preparations for Madrid.

In May we saw and read about the death of Bin Laden, the beatification of John Paul II, the first Vatican blogmeet, the appointment of Bishop van den Hende to Rotterdam, the publication of Universae Ecclesiae, a prayer answered, a papal visit to Venice, enraging comments from the Salesian superior in the Netherlands, and subsequent press releases from the Salesian Order.

June was the month of papal comments about new evangelisation and sacred music, the end of EF Masses in Groningen, the pope visiting Croatia, a new bishop in Görlitz, Bishop van Luyn’s farewell to Rotterdam, advice on financial compensation for abuse victims, Archbishop Eijk taking over as president of the Dutch bishops’ conference, and the death of Cardinal Sterzinsky.

In July, Bishop Rainer Woelki went to Berlin, there was more preparation for Madrid, Bishop van den Hende was installed as bishop of Rotterdam, the pope visited San Marino, Luxembourg received a new archbishop, Bootcamp 2011 took place, Bishop Liesen appeared on EWTN, Blessed Titus Brandsma ended his Twitter adventure, and the crimes of Anders Breivik hit home for Dutch Catholics.

August was a big month because of the World Youth Days in Madrid, but we also learned about Archbishop Dolan’s explanation of the Vatican, freedom of conscience being curtailed, the 100,000th visitor of this blog, and the Liempde affair exploding in the media.

In September, the official website of the Dutch Church got a make-over, Archbishop Eijk wrote a thankyou note to the participants of the WYD, The Dutch bishops’ conference shuffled their responsibilities, and Pope Benedict visited Germany and delivered an important address to the Bundestag.

October, then, saw a successful reunion of the WYD troupe, Bishop Mutsaerts’ intervention in the ultra-liberal San Salvator parish, the bishops declining a proposal to Protestantise the Church, the consecration of Archbishop Jean-Claude Hollerich of Luxembourg, the publication of Porta Fidei and the announcement of a Year of Faith, the appointment of a new Dutch ambassador to the Holy See, the appointment of Msgr. Hendriks as auxiliary bishop of Haarlem-Amsterdam, the first Night of Mary, and Assisi 2011.

In November, Cardinal Burke came to Amsterdam, the bishops accept and put into action a plan for financial compensation for victims of sexual abuse, the Peijnenburg affair made headlines, the pope went to Benin and heartwarmingly spoke to children, priests in Belgium tempted excommunication, Cardinal Simonis turned 80, Bishop Liesen became the new bishop of Breda, and a fifty-year-old letter showed that congregations new about abuse happening in their ranks.

This final month of December, then, saw the first fifty victims of sexual abuse being able to claim financial compensation, the presentation of plans for Metropolis 2012, Nuncio Bacqué’s retirement, the consecration of Bishop Jan Hendriks, pain and horror in Liège, the appointment of Archbishop André Dupuy as new Nuncio, and the publication of the Deetman report unleashing emotional reactions everywhere.

It’s been quite the year, but one with much to be thankful for. The truth sets us free seems especially apt in this final month, but can be applied to the entire year. May 2012 be equally open, honest, but also full of blessings for the Church, the people and everyone of us.

Thank you, readers, for the continued interest. That’s incentive to keep on doing what I do here.

A happy new year, and may God bless you all.

Bishop Schneider on Vatican II – translation online now

My translation of Bishop Schneider’s interesting address about a correct reading of the Second Vatican Council has been ready for a while now, but I have only gotten around to putting it online now. Please note that it has not yet been reread thoroughly. That will happen though, eventually.

In the mean time, Bishop Schneider is the subject of a rather rare occurence within the hierarchy of the Church: the moving of an auxiliary bishop to another diocese. Previously of the Diocese of Karaganda, Msgr. Schneider was appointed yesterday to the neighbouring Archdiocese of Maria Santissima in Astana. It is of course not unusual for an auxiliary bishop to be moved to another diocese to serve as the new ordinary, but in this case, Msgr. Schneider continues to be an auxiliary bishop.

This appointment coincides with Bishop Janusz Kaleta succeeding Archbishop Jan Lenga in Karaganda. Archbishop Lenga is only 60 years old, so his retirement is due to other reasons than the obligatory retirement at 75.

In Maria Santissima in Astana, Bishop Schneider will work under Archbishop Tomasz Peta.

Father Z suggests a reason for the reassignment:

It is not often that an auxiliary bishop is moved to be auxiliary bishop of a different diocese.  Even to the metropolitan see.

Bp. Schneider gets around.  It might be easier to get around from Astana, rather than from Karaganda.

And as an auxiliary, without the obligation of the administration of a diocese, he can speak about many things in many places.

Bishop Schneider speaks again, this time on Vatican II

Over the past days I have been blogging less than usual, and the reason is due to this man: Msgr. Athanasius Schneider, auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Karaganda in Kazakhstan. In orthodox circles his name is not unknown, being the author of the book Dominus Est (It is the Lord) in which he powerfully advocates a return to Communion on the tongue. His is an educated and eloquent voice, very much the seminary professor (which he, in fact, is).

His latest work, which has made a moderate impact in the Catholic blogosphere, is an address he held in December at a conference about the Second Vatican Council seen in the light of the Tradition of the Church.

I have been working on a Dutch translation of that address, of which you may find an English translation here. In it, Bishop Schneider, expands on seven points dealing with the pastoral theory and practice, points which are listed on the Council’s Decree on the Sacred Liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium, which I’ll quote here:

The Church announces the good tidings of salvation to those who do not believe, so that all men may know the true God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent, and may be converted from their ways, doing penance [Jn. 17:3; Lk. 24:17; Ac 2:38]. To believers also the Church must ever preach faith and penance, she must prepare them for the sacraments, teach them to observe all that Christ has commanded [Mt. 28:20], and invite them to all the works of charity, piety, and the apostolate. For all these works make it clear that Christ’s faithful, though not of this world, are to be the light of the world and to glorify the Father before men. (SC, 9).

Pope Pius IX, who issued his Syllabus of Errors in 1864

Bishop Schneider takes each point in turn and, making extensive use of a number of Conciliar documents, as well as addresses and homilies by the Conciliar popes, Blessed John XXIII and Paul VI, uses them to explain the aim of the Council on various doctrinal, liturgical and pastoral topics. In this way, he not only attempts (and succeeds, I think) to explain the actual texts of the documents, but also the intentions of the popes and the Council Fathers.

Ultimately, his address leads to a call for a new Syllabus to counter the errors which have crept into the interpretation of the Council. He takes Pope Pius IX’s Syllabus Errorum (Syllabus of Errors) as a model for his proposed Syllabus. In contrast to the earlier Syllabus, Bishop Schneider’s proposal is triggered not solely by errors from outside the Church. He names both groupings who wish to ‘protestantise’ the Church “doctrinally, liturgically and pastorally”, and traditionalist groups who reject the Council, “submitting for now only to the invisible Head of the Church”.

Bishop Schneider’s scholarly approach to the subject makes that this address is not only food for thought in orthodox circles. It is a source of education for all Catholics about the Council, as well as a call to action, to fully understand what it means to be Catholic and act accordingly.

My Dutch translation will follow soon.