4,431 views last month. That’s a tiny increase over June, which is somewhat surprising; it’s been a slow blogging month after all. But let’s see what people have been reading.
1: Two years in the making, a new archbishop for Luxembourg 92
2: From Cologne with love – Woelki to Berlin 56
3: Something is very rotten among the Dutch Salesians 49
4: Dutch missionary bishop in the dock 48
5: Bishop Liesen on EWTN 43
6: Het probleem Medjugorje 38
7: On the invisible throne – Van den Hende installed as Rotterdam’s fifth bishop 35
8: The wide reach of Anders Breivik 33
9: Travelling with the bishops 32
10: Archbishop Fisichella calls Europe’s main archbishops to Rome 27
A variety of topics, mostly fairly recent – with one exception on number 6 – but none with a shockingly high number of views. There seems to have been an increase in views towards the end of the month, and if that continues into August, there is no doubt that we’ll cross the 100,000 threshold before September.
With Lent having begun this month, the top 10 of most-read posts has a distinct Lenten taste. Last year’s post about the Stations of the Cross is, fittingly for this time of year, at number 1. Japan ranks understandably also high, as do messages for Lent, and a post about Ash Wednesday.
The number of visitors for March was 4,939, the second-highest number since I began this blog. The total number of visitors is now 76,943.
1: The Stations of the Cross 247
2: A surprise to no one, a Dutch politician in favour of rampant secularisation 137
3: Pray for Japan 94
4: To rub or not to rub 93
5: Boodschap voor de Vastentijd 2011 64
6: Bootcamp program unfolds 53
7: Stille Omgang 2011, Dutch missionary bishop in the dock 52
8: Dutch bishops’ encouragement for Lent 49
9: Papal message for Lent 43
10: St. John the Baptist in Bulgaria? 40
In the aftermath of my post on Bishop Schilder, I wondered how many other Dutch bishops are serving abroad, or, at least, are still alive. In a twist of irony, the Netherlands was at one time something of an exporter of missionary priests and religious and some of those ended up climbing the ranks to become bishops of a diocese on another continent.
A glance at the unrivaled repository of all things bishop that is Catholic-Hierarchy, I found a list of all living bishops who in some way have something to do with the Netherlands. Among them the bishops who were born here but who put on the mitre somewhere else. There are twelve of them. Eight have already retired, and four are still active.
They are the following:
All but one of these bishops belong to religious orders or congregations, indicated by the abbreviations behind their names, evidence that all of them once joined the mission as priests. The twelve also represented at least two distinct generations. The first in the late 80s and 90s, and the second, still serving for the most part, in their 60s and 70s. The youngest, Bishop Oudeman, being 69, does show that this Dutch presence among the bishops of other nations is slowly coming to an end. After all, it is not unheard of that priests in their 40s or 50s are appointed bishops, but these men are well beyond that age. Besides, most of the countries named above are now ‘homegrowing’ their own bishops, so there is less need to fall back on the mission.
But, as it is, these twelve men of God remind us of a part of the recent history of the Catholic Church in the Netherlands which seems quite unusual to our modern eyes.
A return to the monthly stats reports, this one includes February and a tiny bit of March, a period which saw 4,154 visits to my blog, a pretty average number. In the top 10, it is striking to note a number of old posts (numbers 6, 8 and 9) as well as a very recent one at number 4. The situation around Bishop Schilder is of interest to many, it would seem.
I have noticed that a growing number of my blog posts tend to discuss hierarchical topics. In other words, the accusation leveled against me from some corners, that I am a bishop worshipper (or, in the words of a commenter here, an episcopolatrist), seems to develop some basis in fact. Of course I don’t worship bishops, but I do acknowledge their important role in the world Church. In many ways, I consider myself inspired by a blog like Whispers in the Loggia which discusses news topics about the hierarchy in the American Church. In my own small and inadequate way, I would like to offer something similar for the Church in northwestern Europe.
Anyway, on to the top 10:
1: A real church, “not one of those multifunctional things” 145
2: Another blogging bishop 80
3: Berlin is vacant, herald of things to come? 72
4: Dutch missionary bishop in the dock, Saint Valentine the Unknown 63
5: The archbishop gets his wish, Saint Paul’s prophetic words and Peter Seewald on the attack 56
6: The Stations of the Cross 52
7: Facing a difficult situation with “good humour” – Belgium veruss the archbishop 50
8: Another timely reminder, Het probleem Medjugorje 39
9: A poignant photo 34
10: Anti-life proposals questioned by its ‘target audience’ 31
Accusations of sexual abuse have appeared against another bishop of Dutch descent. Details are still lacking, but it seems that Msgr. Cor Schilder, emeritus bishop of Ngong in Kenya, is accused of sexual abuse committed while he was still a priest. Father Fons Eppink of the Missionary Society of Mill Hill to which Bishop Schilder belongs, has confirmed this. A 32-year-old Kenyan man claims to have been raped when Schilder was still a priest. The accusation was sent on to Rome where, eighteen months ago, the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, forbade the bishop from offering Masses in public and performing any pastoral tasks.
So while the Church took steps to remove the accused from where he committed his alleged crimes, there has been no police investigation yet. Father Anthony Chantry superior general of the Mill Hill society, has promised full cooperation with any investigation. The Public Prosecutor in the Netherlands has already asked for a full report from Mill Hill. It seems that the bishop may also be prosecuted here, but on what legal grounds is unknown to me.
It must be noted that, while the Church has seemingly drawn some conclusions, The doings of Bishop Schilder have not yet been legally investigated. Why the police were not informed by either the victim, the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples or the nuncio in Kenya remains to be seen.
Bishop Schilder served as bishop of Ngong from 2002 to 2009, when he was sent on early retirement ‘for health reasons’. There is, as of yet, no new bishop in Ngong.