After a ten-month vacancy (another fairly lengthy one, which unavoidably gave rise to theories of episcopal disagreements reaching as far as the Vatican itself), the Diocese of Roermond has a bishop again. Stepping into the shoes of Frans Wiertz, who led the diocese for 24 years is Father Harrie Smeets, 57, until now the dean of Venray.
^The cathedral chapter of Roermond upon the appointment of Dean Smeets to that body in 2015. The new bishop of Roermond can be seen to the right of then-Bishop Frans Wiertz.
The Diocese of Roermond coincides with the province of Limburg and is located in the south-east of the Netherlands, wedged in between Belgium and Germany, bordering the Dutch (arch)dioceses of ‘s-Hertogenbosch and Utrecht, Hasselt and Liège in Belgium and Aachen and Münster in Germany. It shares much of its history with its neighbours, as it was first established in 1559 from territories belonging to Cologne and Liège. It was suppressed under Napoleon and re-established in 1840, again from Cologne and Liège. it has been a full diocese since 1853. The Catholic history, however, goes far further back, as the diocese also includes the city of Maastricht, which was the seat of a diocese as far back as 530.
The new bishop will be assisted in his work by the longest-seated auxiliary bishop in the Netehrlands, Msgr. Everard de Jong currently in Rome to participate in the Synod of Bishops.
Bishop-elect Smeets will be the tenth bishop of Roermond since 1853. He has served as area dean of Venray, tbe northernmost of Roermond’s thirteen deaneries, since 2004. He has been a priest for more than 25 years and a member of the cathedral chapter since 2015. As such played a part in his own appointment, although one may wonder if the office of bishops is something that any good priest willingly seeks. Until 2011, Bishop-elect Smeets offered televised Masses, which were broadcast on national television live, 14 times. Leo Fijen, TV presenter and head of religious/spiritual programming for broadcaster KRO/NCRV, knows Fr. Smeets well and describes him thus:
“A priest from Limburg, a man of these times, a teacher who speaks the language of the young, a manager willing to make decisions, but also a man seeking God and doing what this pope considers important: opening the doors of the church and seeking out Christ in the neighbours outside the church.”
The exact time and date of Bishop Smeets’ consecration remains to be announced.
Friday a week ago, the 24th of August, saw the passing of 93-year-old Bishop Dominik Kalata in Bratislava, Slovakia. It was the end of a life spent for the major part in exile, a life marked by the Church’s attempts to serve the faithful in Communist-dominated lands during the Cold War. Born in Poland, Bishop Kalata was consecrated in secret for the Church in what was then Czechoslovakia, spent 26 years of his life in Germany, only to return to what had then become Slovakia, where he died.
Bishop Kalata, who came from southern Poland, joined the Jesuits in 1943, the middle of the Second World War, and began his studies in the town of Tetschen, in the Nazi German Sudetenland, now Děčín in the Czech Republic. After the war the Communists came to power, and in 1950 all monasteries were closed, which made Kalata’s studies significantly more difficult, as he was first imprisoned and then served for three years in the Czechoslovakian military. In 1951, he was ordained a priest for the Society of Jesus. His priesthood still illegal in Czechoslovakia, Father Kalata earned a living as a carpenter, joiner, lorry driver, electrician and photo lab technician. He was nonetheless imprisoned for a further six years. As by that time, all the bishops in the country were either in prison themselves or else under constant guard, Fr. Kalata was consecrated as bishop in secret, which allowed him a certain measure of freedom of movement, that the known bishops lacked. He was one of a number of bishops thus consecrated. In 1968, Bishop Kalata received amnesty, although any public exercise of his office remained forbidden. A year later, he was allowed to travel to Austria, to complete his studies in Innsbruck. In 1976, he was made responsible for the pastoral care of Czech faithful outside their homelands, in all of Europe and North America. In 1985, his episcopal office was made sort of official by Rome, as he was appointed as titular bishop of Semta . He was never appointed to a diocese in the Czech republic or Slovakia, unlike some of his brethren. For example, the bishop who had originally consecrated him, Ján Korec, was himself secretly consecrated in 1951, and would become bishop of Nitra in 1990 and a cardinal in 1991.
During his time in Germany, from 1976 to 209, Bishop Kalata served the Archdiocese of Freiburg im Breisgau, conferring confirmations and consecrating altars, clocks and organs in behalf of the archbishop. As such, he served as an unofficial auxiliary bishop, although he had no role in the archdiocesan curia. In 2009, Bishop Kalata returned home to Slovakia.
In remarks made on the occasion of Bishop Kalata’s death, Msgr. Axel Mehlmann, vicar general of Freiburg im Breisgau said:
“He was steadfast in his faith and trust in God. In times of persecution he was for many a sign for the fact that God is among us and does not abandon us. In our time, when the unity of Europe is at risk, as marginalisation, demarcation and oppression become increasingly prevalent, we remember Bishop Kalata with gratitude and respect.
An overview of the Czechoslovakian bishops during the Communist dictatorship can be found, in German, here.
Bishop Kalata was the second-longest serving bishop in the world, having been consecrated on 9 September 1955.
A historic development today in the fight against sexual abuse in the Church: a cardinal, albeit a retired one, resigned his title and red hat, and was ordered to cease all his public duties and lead a live of prayer and penance in a yet to be announced location.
Cardinal – now just Archbishop – Theodore McCarrick faces two allegations of sexual abuse of minors and several further claims of harassment of and misconduct with adults. The steps taken today come before his case is heard and judged in a canonical trial according to ecclesiastical law, and any legal developments which may take place in an American court of law, as the law allows (the major obstacle in such cases, which – as here – often took place many years ago, remains the statute of limitations).
The case of McCarrick brings back strong memories of that of the late Scottish Cardinal O’Brien. He too saw all his cardinal rights and duties removed on his own request, but he was allowed to remain a cardinal. Former Cardinal McCarrick is punished more severely, although it is, in some ways, a passive punishment, as it was McCarrick himself who requested it in a letter to the Pope.
The full resignation of a cardinal is a rare event, and this is the first time it has happened since 1927. In 2015, I wrote a blog post about the history of cardinal resignations, in which I gave an overview of past resignations of cardinals (although in it I erroneously claimed that the last such resignation took place in 1911 instead of 1927).
It remains to be seen if there will be a canonical trial for McCarrick, as today’s press release suggests, and if so, what its result will be. Perhaps there will be further penalties for Archbishop McCarrick. On Twitter, Dr Kurt Martens, Professor of Canon Law at the Catholic University of America, offers a detailed analysis of the possible penalties that can be levied against McCarrick according to the laws of the Church. He suggests that dismissal from the clerical state is one of the few options remaining, as McCarrick is already retired and so no longer holds any office. Martens mentions two recent examples of prelates having been laicised after allegations of abuse: Raymond Lahey, former bishop of Antigonish in Canada in 2012, and Józef Wesolowski, former Apostolic Nuncio to the Dominican Republic (and thus automatically an archbishop) in 2014.
Beyond McCarrick, there is a chance that there will be consequences for other bishops in the United States and Rome, as the question of who knew what and when about McCarrick’s abuse remains unanswered.
Theodore Edgar McCarrick was a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, and became auxiliary bishop of that archdiocese in 1977. In 1981, he was appointed as bishop of Metuchen in New Jersey, and then as archbishop of Newark in 1986. From 2011 to 2006 he served as archbishop of Washington. He was created a cardinal in the giant consistory of 21 February 2001 (making him a cardinal class mate of Pope Francis). He held the title of Santi Nereo ed Achilleo. The two allegations of sexual abuse of a minor, which were deemed credible and substantiated by the Archdiocese of New York in June, took place in the early 1970s and involved a then 16-year-old boy. McCarrick was then serving as a priest in New York, and today claims to have no memory of the alleged abuse. At the same time last month, the chanceries of the Archdiocese of Newark and the Diocese of Metuchen, where McCarrick served as bishop, announced that they had received three further allegations of misconduct involving adults, and that two of these allegations had resulted in settlements.
It may not look like it today, but the northern part of what is now the Netherlands, especially the provinces of Groningen and Fryslân, were once a monastic heartland. Much of the land reclaimed from the sea was the result of the work by monks or promoted by them. They established massive monastic complexes, of which the town of Aduard is perhaps among the best known.
One of the monasteries was Oldeklooster (which simply means ‘old monastery’) near the village of Feldwerd, near the shores of the Dollard sea arm. This was established by a man named Hathebrand (although the second ‘h’ in his name is sometimes omitted). Hathebrand’s monastery housed both male and female religious and, after a difficult first start, which, the story goes, even included one or more attempts on the life of its founder, the monastery flourished. Hathebrand went on to establish two more monasteries: Merehusen in East Frisia (now northwest Germany) and Thesinge or Germania in the vicinity of the city of Groningen. According to monastic records, Hathebrand died on 30 July 1183.
In 1594 the fortunes of the monasteries turned. The city of Groningen, which controlled much of the lands surrounding it, fell to the forces of the Dutch republic and quickly became Protestant. The Catholic faith became illegal and the monasteries fell empty. Over time, they turned into ruins which were later demolished. In the countryside of Groningen, there is very little that remains of the once ubiquitous religious foundations.
The remains of Hathebrand, by then deemed a saint, were moved to the Catholic south, ending up in Antwerp. While the north forgot about him, in what is now Belgium he was venerated as a saint and helper in need. The Belgian town of Mortsel still has a street named after him. The relics of Saint Hathebrand found a final resting place in the church of Kortrijk-Dutsel. And there the story ends. Until recently.
In the words of reporter Reinder Smith, writing for RTV Noord:
“He had stopped hoping. Edze de Boer from Uithuizermeeden is almost 92 years old, and has been looking for Saint Hathebrand for more than fifty years. Last March he received a letter from the parish council of Kortrijk-Dutsel.
“De Boer was born in Katmis near Holwierde and knew from his youth the stories that there had been a monastery on this dwelling mound. He started to study the history, and so learned that the physical remains of Hathebrand had ended up in Belgium.”
“Former teacher De Boer had already visited [Kortrijk-Dutsel] in 2002, but the relic could not be found then. But the board of the church of St. Catherine kept looking and after 16 years a small chest appeared from the back of a closet, with in it, among other things, a part of the bones of St. Hathebrand.”
Today, those few remains returned home. Not to Hathebrand’s monastery, which is long gone, but to the dwelling mound of Feldwerd, and then to the church of Krewerd, for a public presentation, including a look back on Mr. de Boer’s search for the long-lost saint, medieval organ music, an address on the rediscovery of the saints following the restoration of medieval churches and the related study of medieval church interiors, and a brief word by Catholic priest Fr. Arjen Jellema.
Saint Hathebrand’s return is a temporary one, however. After a brief visit to his native lands, Hathebrand will return to Belgium.
Today marks not only Pope Francis’ fifth red hat day, with the ceremonies to begin at 4 pm Roman time, but also an historical change in the composition of the College of Cardinals, albeit one with, on first glance, little effect on the day to day affairs of the Church.
The College of Cardinals is divided into three ranks: the cardinal-deacons, cardinal-priests and cardinal-bishops. Of these, the cardinal-bishops are of the highest rank and also the smallest of the three groups. Traditionally, the cardinal-bishops were the bishops of the seven* suburbicarian sees, the ancient dioceses surrounding Rome. Before 1962, these cardinals were the actual bishops of the suburbicarian sees, but in that year the position became titular and the dioceses received bishops who had the time to actual manage them.
The cardinal-bishops remained the highest order of cardinals, however, and from their ranks the dean and vice-dean of the entire College were chosen. In times of a sede vacante this becomes most visible, as the dean has the duty of calling the other cardinals to Rome and organising the conclave to elect a new pope. Today, the Dean of the College of Cardinals is the cardinal-bishop of Albano and Ostia, Cardinal Angelo Sodano**.
In 1965, the order of cardinal-bishops was expanded by the addition of those patriarchs of eastern Churches in union with Rome who were made cardinals. There are three of these today: the Coptic patriarch and the current and previous Maronite patriarchs. After today’s consistory, they will be joined by the Chaldean patriarch. These eastern cardinal-bishops, while equal in rank to the others, receive no suburbicarian see and do not participate in the election of dean and vice-dean (they are also unable to be elected themselves)***.
Over the centuries, but especially in the last decades, the College of Cardinals has continuously grown in size. For example, about a century ago, the conclave that elected Pope Benedict XV consisted of 57 cardinals (a further 8 were unable to take part), while following today’s consistory, there will be 125 electors. This growth took part solely in the ranks of the cardinal-deacons and the cardinal-priests. The cardinal-bishops steadfastly remained limited to the holders of the suburbicarian sees. To remedy that, Pope Francis decided to select four cardinals to be elevated to the rank of cardinal-bishops. They keep their current title churches and duties, but it may be assumed that they are now first in line to be moved to a suburbicarian see when one falls vacant. The four new cardinal-bishops are full members of the highest section of the hierarchy in all respects, and can vote for and be elected as dean or vice-dean. Canons 350 and 352 of the Code of Canon Law limit this to the holders of the suburbicarian sees, but that limitation has been waived for the new cardinal-bishops.
For this honour, which is simultaneously an obligation, Pope Francis has selected four cardinals from three different countries, who all work in the Curia in Rome.
Pietro Cardinal Parolin, Secretary of State, 63. Perhaps the most important rising star in Francis’ papacy. A trained diplomat, the erstwhile Nuncio to Venezuela was called to Rome in 2013 to succeed Cardinal Bertone as Secretary of State. In 2014 he was made a cardinal with the title of Santi Simone e Giuda Taddeo a Torre Angela, and was added to the Council of Cardinals, the C9, that assists the pope in reforming the Curia, about a year after that group was established.
Leonardo Cardinal Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, 74. Argentinean like the pope, Cardinal Sandri is also a diplomat, having served as Nuncio to Venezuela and Mexico before joining the Secretariat of State as Substitute for General Affairs in 2000. He became Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches in 2007 and was made a cardinal in that same year. Last month, he was one of the cardinal-deacons who were promoted to cardinal-priests. He maintained is title of Santi Biagio e Carlo ai Catinari, as he does with his elevation to cardinal-bishop.
Marc Cardinal Ouellet, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, 74. Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity in 2001 and 2002, the Canadian prelate returned home as archbishop of Québec, and was made a cardinal in 2003, with Santa Maria in Traspontina as his title church. Since 2010 he serves as prefect of the congregation which controls the appointing of bishops around the world.
Fernando Cardinal Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, 72. Like two of his three classmates a diplomat, having served as Nuncio in Jordan, Iraq and the Philippines. Like Cardinal Sandri, he also served as Substitute for General Affairs in the Secretariat of State, from 2007 to 2011. In that latter year he became Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, and was made a cardinal in 2012. He holds the title of Nostra Signora do Coromoto in San Giovanni di Dio.
In paractice these changes mean that Cardinals Parolin, Sandri, Ouellet and Filoni are among the most significant collaborators of the pope, and when the time for a conclave comes, it will be Cardinal Parolin who will oversee the proceedings: he will take on those duties that Cardinal Sodano is unable to because of his age.
With these elevations and the creation of fourteen new cardinals today, the makeup of the entire College of Cardinals is listed below. In bold are those cardinals under the age of 80, who can vote in a conclave. Their duties and offices are summarised here. In many cases, especially for cardinals working in the curia, they have or had several functions. I have chosen to list only their most prominent or best-known roles.
Angelo Cardinal Sodano: Dean of the College of Cardinals, Secretary of State emeritus
Giovanni Battista Cardinal Re: Vice-Dean of the College of Cardinals, Prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Bishops
Roger Cardinal Etchegaray: President emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace
Francis Cardinal Arinze: Prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone: Secretary of State emeritus
José Cardinal Saraiva Martins: Prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints
Pietro Cardinal Parolin: Secretary of State
Leonardo Cardinal Sandri: Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches
Marc Cardinal Ouellet: Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops
Fernando Cardinal Filoni: Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples
Nasrallah Pierre Cardinal Sfeir: Patriarch emeritus of Antioch (Maronite Rite)
Antonios Cardinal Naguib: Patriarch emeritus of Alexandria (Coptic Rite)
Béchara Pierre Cardinal Raï: Patriarch of Antioch (Maronite Rite)
Louis Raphaël I Cardinal Sako: Patriarch of Babylon (Chaldean Rite)
Michael Michai Cardinal Kitbunchu: Archbishop emeritus of Bangkok
Alexandre Cardinal do Nascimento: Archbishop emeritus of Luanda
Godfried Cardinal Danneels: Archbishop emeritus of Mechelen-Brussel
Thomas Stafford Cardinal Williams: Archbishop emeritus of Wellington
Henryk Roman Cardinal Gulbinowicz: Archbishop emeritus of Wroclaw
Jozef Cardinal Tomko: Prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples
Paul Cardinal Poupard: President emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Culture, President emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue
Friedrich Cardinal Wetter: Archbishop emeritus of München und Freising
Adrianus Johannes Cardinal Simonis: Archbishop emeritus of Utrecht
Eduardo Cardinal Martínez Somalo: Prefect emeritus of the Consecration for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life
Achille Cardinal Silvestrini: Prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches
José Freire Cardinal Falcão: Archbishop emeritus of Brasília
Alexandre José María Cardinal dos Santos: Archbishop emeritus of Maputo
Christian Wiyghan Cardinal Tumi: Archbishop emeritus of Douala
Edward Idris Cardinal Cassidy: President emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
Nicolás de Jesús Cardinal López Rodríguez: Archbishop emeritus of Santo Domingo
Roger Michael Cardinal Mahony: Archbishop emeritus of Los Angeles
Camillo Cardinal Ruini: Vicar General emeritus for the Vicariate of Rome, Archpriest emeritus of S. John Lateran
Henri Cardinal Schwery: Bishop emeritus of Sion
Jaime Lucas Cardinal Ortega y Alamino: Archbishop emeritus of Havana
Julius Riyadi Cardinal Darmaatmadja: Archbishop emeritus of Jakarta
Emmanuel Cardinal Wamala: Archbishop emeritus of Kampala
Adam Joseph Cardinal Maida: Archbishop emeritus of Detroit
Vinko Cardinal Puljic: Archbihsop of Vrhbosna
Juan Cardinal Sandoval Íñiguez: Archbihsop emeritus of Guadalajara
Jorge Arturo Cardinal Medina Estévez: Prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
James Francis Cardinal Stafford: Archbishop emeritus of Denver
Salvatore Cardinal De Giorgi: Archbishop emeritus of Palermo
Serafim Fernandes Cardinal de Araújo: Archbishop emeritus of Belo Horizonte
Antonio María Cardinal Rouco Varela: Archbishop emeritus of Madrid
Polycarp Cardinal Pengo: Archbishop of Dar-es-Salaam
Christoph Cardinal Schönborn: Archbishop of Vienna
Norberto Cardinal Rivera Carrera: Archbishop emeritus of Mexico
Marian Cardinal Jaworski: Archbishop emeritus of Lviv
Janis Cardinal Pujats: Archbishop emeritus of Riga
Agostino Cardinal Cacciavillan: President emeritus of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See
Sergio Cardinal Sebastiani: President emeritus of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See
Zenon Cardinal Grocholewski: Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education
Crescenzio Cardinal Sepe: Archbishop of Naples
Walter Cardinal Kasper: President emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
Geraldo Majella Cardinal Agnelo: Archbishop emeritus of São Salvador de Bahia
Pedro Cardinal Rubiano Sáenz: Archbishop emeritus of Bogotá
Theodore Edgar Cardinal McCarrick: Archbishop emeritus of Washington
Audrys Juozas Cardinal Backis: Archbishop emeritus of Vilnius
Francisco Javier Cardinal Errázuriz Ossa: Archbishop emeritus of Santiago de Chile
Wilfrid Fox Cardinal Napier: Archbishop of Durban
Óscar Andrés Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga: Archbishop of Tegucigalpa and Coordinator of the Council of Cardinals
Juan Luis Cardinal Cipriani Thorne: Archbishop of Lima
Francisco Cardinal Álvarez Martínez: Archbishop emeritus of Toledo
Cláudio Cardinal Hummes: Prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Clergy
Severino Cardinal Poletto: Archbishop emeritus of Torino
Jean-Louis Cardinal Tauran: President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church
Julián Cardinal Herranz Casado: President emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts
Javier Cardinal Lozano Barragán: President emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers
Angelo Cardinal Scola: Archbishop emeritus of Milan
Anthony Olubunmi Cardinal Okogie: Archbishop emeritus of Lagos
Gabriel Cardinal Zubier Wako: Archbishop emeritus of Khartoum
Carlos Cardinal Amigo Vallejo: Archbihsop emeritus of Sevilla
Justin Francis Cardinal Rigali: Archbishop emeritus of Philadelphia
Eusébio Oscar Cardinal Scheid: Archbishop emeritus of Rio de Janeiro
Ennio Cardinal Antonelli: President emeritus of the Pontifical Council for the Family
Peter Kodwo Appiah Cardinal Turkson: Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development
Telesphore Placidus Cardinal Toppo: Archbishop emeritus of Ranchi
George Cardinal Pell: Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy
Josip Cardinal Bozanic: Archbishop of Zagreb
Jean-Baptise Cardinal Pham Minh Man: Archbishop emeritus of Ho Chi Minh City
Philipp Christian Igance Marie Cardinal Barbarin: Archbishop of Lyon
Péter Cardinal Erdö: Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest
William Joseph Cardinal Levada: Prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Franc Cardinal Rode: Prefect emeritus of the Consecration for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life
Agostino Cardinal Vallini: Pontifical Legate for the Basilicas of St. Francis and St. Mary of the Angels in Assisi
Jorge Liberato Cardinal Urosa Savino: Archbishop of Caracas
Gaudencio Borbon Cardinal Rosales: Archbishop emeritus of Manila
Jean-Pierre Bernard Cardinal Ricard: Archbishop of Bordeaux
Antonio Cardinal Cañizares Llovera: Archbishop of Valencia
Nicholas Cardinal Cheong Jin-suk: Archbishop emeritus of Seoul
Seán Patrick Cardinal O’Malley: Archbishop of Boston
Stanislaw Cardinal DziwiszArchbishop emeritus of Kraków
Joseph Cardinal Zen Ze-kiun: Bishop emeritus of Hong Kong
Albert Cardinal Vanhoye: Secretary emeritus of the Pontifical Biblical Commission
Giovanni Cardinal Lajolo: President emeritus of the Governorate of the Vatican City State and President emeritus of the Pontifical Commission for the Vatican City State
Paul Josef Cardinal Cordes: President emeritus of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum”
Angelo Cardinal Comastri: Archpriest of St. Peter and Vicar General for the Vatican City State
Stanislaw Cardinal Rylko: Archpries of St. Mary Major
Raffaele Cardinal Farina: Librarian emeritus of the Vatican Apostolic Library and Archivist emeritus of the Vatican Secret Archives
Seán Baptist Cardinal Brady: Archbishop emeritus of Armagh
Lluís Cardinal Martinez Sistach: Archbishop emeritus of Barcelona
André Armand Cardinal Vingt-Trois: Archbishop emeritus of Paris
Angelo Cardinal Bagnasco: Archbishop of Genova
Théodore-Adrien Cardinal Sarr: Archbishop emeritus of Dakar
Oswald Cardinal Gracias: Archbishop of Bombay
Francisco Cardinal Robles Ortega: Archbishop of Guadalajara
Daniel Nicholas Cardinal DiNardo: Archbishop of Galveston-Houston
Odilo Pedro Cardinal Scherer: Archbishop of São Paulo
John Cardinal Njue: Archbishop of Nairobi
Estanislao Esteban Cardinal Karlic: Archbishop emeritus of Paraná
Raúl Eduardo Cardinal Vela Chiriboga: Archbishop emeritus of Quito
Laurent Cardinal Monsengwo Pasinya: Archbishop of Kinshasa
Paolo Cardinal Romeo: Archbishop emeritus of Palermo
Donald William Cardinal Wuerl: Archbishop of Washington
Raymundo Damasceno Cardinal Assis: Archbishop emeritus of Aparecida
Kazimierz Cardinal Nycz: Archbishop of Warszawa
Albert Malcolm Ranjith Cardinal Patabendige Don: Archbishop of Colombo
Reinhard Cardinal Marx: Archbishop of München und Freising
José Manuel Cardinal Estepa Llaurens: Military Ordinary emeritus of Spain
George Cardinal Alencherry: Major Archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly (Syro-Malabar Rite)
Thomas Christopher Cardinal Collins: Archbishop of Toronto
Dominik Cardinal Duka: Archbishop of Prague
Willem Jacobus Cardinal Eijk: Archbishop of Utrecht
Giuseppe Cardinal Betori: Archbishop of Firenze
Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan: Archbishop of New York
Rainer Maria Cardinal Woelki: Archbishop of Köln
John Cardinal Tong Hon: Bishop emeritus of Hong Kong
Lucian Cardinal Muresan: Major Archbishop of Fagaras si Alba Iulia (Romanian Rite)
Baselios Cleemis Cardinal Thottunkal: Major Archbishop of Trivandrum (Syro-Malankar Rite)
John Olorunfemi Cardinal Onaiyekan: Archbishop of Abuja
Jesús Rubén Cardinal Salazar Gómez: Archbishop of Bogotá
Luis Antonio Gokim Cardinal Tagle: Archbishop of Manila
Vincent Gerard Cardinal Nichols: Archbishop of Westminster
Leopoldo José Cardinal Brenes Solórzano: Archbishop of Managua
Gérald Cyprien Cardinal Lacroix: Archbishop of Québec
Jean-Pierre Cardinal Kutwa: Archbishop of Abidjan
Orani João Cardinal Tempesta: Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro
Gualtiero Cardinal Bassetti: Archbishop of Perugia-Città della Pieve
Mario Aurelio Cardinal Poli: Archbishop of Buenos Aires
Andrew Cardinal Yeom Soo-jung: Archbishop of Seoul
Ricardo Cardinal Ezzati Andrello: Archbishop of Santiago de Chile
Philippe Nakellentuba Cardinal Ouédraogo: Archbishop of Ouagadougou
Orlando Beltran Cardinal Quevedo: Archbishop of Cotabato
Chibly Cardinal Langlois: Bishop of Les Cayes
Fernando Cardinal Sebastián Aguilar: Archbishop emeritus of Pamplona y Tudela
Kelvin Edward Cardinal Felix: Archbishop emeritus of Castries
Manuel José Cardinal Macário do Nascimento Clemente: Patriarch of Lissabon
Berhaneyesus Demerew Cardinal Souraphiel: Metropolitan of Addis Abeba (Ethiopic Rite)
John Atcherley Cardinal Dew: Archbishop of Wellington
Edoardo Cardinal Menichelli: Archbishop emeritus of Ancona-Osimo
Pierre Cardinal Nguyen Van Nhon: Archbishop of Hanoi
Alberto Cardinal Suárez Inda: Archbishop emeritus of Morelia
Charles Maung Cardinal Bo: Archbishop of Yangon
Francis Xavier Kriengsak Cardinal Kovithavanij: Archbishop of Bangkok
Francesco Cardinal Montenegro: Archbishop of Agrigento
Daniel Fernando Cardinal Sturla Berhouet: Archbishop of Montevideo
Ricardo Cardinal Blázquez Pérez: Archbishop of Valladolid
José Luis Cardinal Lacunza Maestrojuán: Bishop of David
Arlindo Cardinal Gomes Furtado: Bishop of Santiago de Cabo Verde
Soane Patita Cardinal Mafi: Bishop of Tonga
José de Jesús Cardinal Pimiento Rodriguez: Archbishop emeritus of Manizales
Luis Héctor Cardinal Villalba: Archbishop emeritus of Tucumán
Júlio Duarte Cardinal Langa: Bishop emeritus of Xai-Xai
Dieudonné Cardinal Nzapalainga: Archbishop of Bangui
Carlos Cardinal Osoro Sierra: Archbishop of Madrid
Sérgio Cardinal da Rocha: Archbishop of Brasília
Blase Joseph Cardinal Cupich: Archbishop of Chicago
Patrick Cardinal D’Rozario: Archbishop of Dhaka
Baltazar Enrique Cardinal Porras Cardozo: Archbishop of Mérida
Jozef Cardinal De Kesel: Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussel
Maurice Cardinal Piat: Bishop of Port-Louis
Carlos Cardinal Aguiar Retes: Archbishop of Mexico
John Cardinal Ribat: Archbishop of Port Moresby
Joseph William Cardinal Tobin: Archbishop of Newark
Anthony Soter Cardinal Fernandez: Archbishop emeritus of Kuala Lumpur
Renato Cardinal Corti: Bishop emeritus of Novara
Sebastian Koto Cardinal Khoarai: Bishop emeritus of Mohale’s Hoek
Jean Cardinal Zerbo: Archbishop of Bamako
Juan José Cardinal Omella Omella: Archbishop of Barcelona
Anders Cardinal Arborelius: Bishop of Stockholm
Lousi-Marie Cardinal Ling Mangkhanekhoun: Vicar Apostolic of Vientiane
Gregorio Cardinal Rosa Chávez: Auxiliary Bishop of San Salvador
Joseph Cardinal Coutts: Archbishop of Karachi
António Augusto Cardinal dos Santos Marto: Bishop of Leiria-Fátima
Pedro Ricardo Cardinal Barreto Jimeno: Archbishop of Huancayo
Désiré Cardinal Tsarahazana: Archbishop of Toamasina
Giuseppe Cardinal Petrocchi: Archbishop of L’Aquila
Thomas Aquino Manyo Cardinal Maeda: Archbishop of Osaka
Sergio Cardinal Obeso Rivera: Archbishop emeritus of Jalapa
Toribio Cardinal Ticona Porco: Prelate emeritus of Corocoro
Renato Cardinal Martino: President emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and President emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People
Angelo Cardinal Amato: Prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints
Robert Cardinal Sarah: Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
Francesco Cardinal Monterisi: Archpriest emeritus of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls
Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke: Patron of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta
Kurt Cardinal Koch: President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
Paolo Cardinal Sardi: Patron emeritus of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta
Mauro Cardinal Piacenza: Major Penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary
Gianfranco Cardinal Ravasi: President of the Pontifical Council for Culture
Elio Cardinal Sgreccia: President emeritus of the Pontifical Academy for Life
Walter Cardinal Brandmüller: President emeritus of the Pontifical Committee of Historical Sciences
Manuel Cardinal Monteiro de Castro: Major Penitentiary emeritus of the Apostolic Penitentiary
Santos Cardinal Abril y Castelló: Archpriest emeritus of St. Mary Major
Antonio Maria Cardinal Vegliò: President emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People
Giuseppe Cardinal Bertello: President of the Governorate of the Vatican City State and President of the Pontifical Commission for the Vatican City State
Francesco Cardinal Coccopalmerio: President emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts
João Cardinal Bráz de Aviz: Prefect of the Consecration for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life
Edwin Frederick Cardinal O’Brien: Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepuclhre of Jerusalem
Domenico Cardinal Calcagno: President emeritus of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See
Giuseppe Cardinal Versaldi: Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education
Prosper Cardinal Grech: Priest of the Archdiocese of Malta
James Michael Cardinal Harvey: Archpriest of St. Paul-Outside-the-Walls
Lorenzo Cardinal Baldisseri: Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops
Gerhard Ludwig Cardinal Müller: Prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Beniamino Cardinal Stella: Prefect of the Congregation for Clergy
Dominique Francois Joseph Cardinal Mamberti: Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura
Luigi Cardinal De Magistris: Major Pro-Penitentiary emeritus
Karl-Josef Cardinal Rauber: Apostolic Nuncio emeritus to Belgium and Luxembourg
Mario Cardinal Zenari: Apostolic Nuncio to Syria
Kevin Joseph Cardinal Farrell: Prefect of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life
Ernest Cardinal Simoni: Priest of the Diocese of Shkodrë-Pult
Luis Francisco Cardinal Ladaria Ferrer: Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Angelo Cardinal De Donatis: Archpriest of St. John Lateran and Vicar General for the Vicariate of Rome
Giovanni Angelo Cardinal Becciu: Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints
Konrad Cardinal Krajewski: Almoner of His Holiness
Aquilino Cardinal Bocos Merino: Superior General emeritus of the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
*Over time, there have been some mergers and splits among these seven sees, but today they are: Albano, Frascati, Ostia, Palestrina, Porto-Santa Rufina, Sabina-Poggio Mirteto and Velletri-Segni.
*The title of Ostia is given to the Dean in addition to his own titular diocese. It has no bishop of its own and it is governed by the vicar-general for the Vicariate of Rome, currently Archbishop Angelo De Donatis, who himself will be made a cardinal today.
***This may be one of the reasons for today’s changes. If a conclave were to be held now, its proceedings would be overseen by Maronite Patriarch Béchara Cardinal Raï, himself not a Roman prelate. This would be so because the dean, at 90, is too old to participate in a conclave and his duties would then automatically fall to the senior cardinal-bishop who is also an elector. Cardinal Raï is the sole elector among the cardinal-bishops today.
It couldn’t have come on a more fitting day for the Diocese of Fulda. On 5 June they celebrated the feast day of their patron St. Boniface, which was celebrated over the weekend with the annual Bonifatius Fest which drew some 8,000 visitors, among them the bishop of that other diocese closely linked to St Boniface: Msgr. Ron van den Hout of Groningen-Leeuwarden.
On the same 5th of June it was announced this had been the last such day presided over by Bishop Heinz Joshistef Algermissen. That was not unexpected, as the bishop reached the age of 75 in February, and there was no reason to assume that his retirement would not be accepted within the following months. Bishop Algermissen led the Diocese of Fulda since 2001. Before that he served as an auxiliary bishop of Paderborn for five years.
The Diocese of Fulda, which traces its origins to the establishment of a monastery by the aforementioned St. Boniface in 744. In 751 the monastery became an abacy nullius under the direct responsibility of the Holy See, making the abbots independent from the local bishops. The prosperity of the abbacy grew, in 1220 it became an abbey-principality, and in 1752 it became a diocese in its own right, taking the name of Fulda. Over the subsequent centuries its borders were changed repeatedly, gaining territory in 1821 and 1929, and losing it in 1930 and 1973. The last change was a reflection of Cold War reality: parts of Fulda had been under Communist rule since the end of World War II, and in 1973 those parts, as well as parts of the Diocese of Würzburg, became a separate apostolic administration: Erfurt-Meiningen. In 1994 this became the Diocese of Erfurt.
Today, the Diocese of Fulda covers the northerns and eastern parts of the Land of Hesse, a small part of Thuringia and and exclave in Bavaria. Within its 10,318 square kilometres live some 400,000 Catholics a little of 20% of the entire population. It remains a pilgrimage site because of St. Boniface’s wish to be buried there, instead of in Mainz or Utrecht. He had been killed in the Frisian swamps near what is now Dokkum in the Netherlands (hence the connection to the the Diocese of Groningen-Leeuwarden, hinted at above). With the acceptance of the retirement of Bishop Algermissen, and until the catedral chapter has chosen a diocesan administrator, Bishop Karlheinz Diez leads the diocese. He is Fulda’s sole auxiliary, making him the automatic choice for the role.
During his years in office, Bishop Algermissen had a clear eye on the future, creating 43 parish communities in ten deaneries by 2006, and in 2017 he created the strategy for the next decades until 2030. “When many today see an ever denser curtain blocking heaven from view and when the emancipation from God becomes a program, we are urgently called to establish a countermovement,” the bishop declared.
Commenting in Bishop Algermissen’s retirement, Cardinal Reinhard Marx expressed his gratitude for his service and hospitality (the German bishops meet in Fulda for their autumn plenary meetings), but also referred to his pro-life stance: “Regarding your work, I emphasise the special attention to unborn and dying life: protecting life from beginning to end has, also in public debates, always been a heartfelt concern for you.”
Bishop Algermissen was a member of the Liturgy Commission and the Ecumenism Commission in the German Bishops’ Conference. He was vice-president of the latter commission.
At last weekend’s Bonifatiusfest, a toast from Groningen-Leeuwarden canon Fr. Paul Verheijen to Bishop Algermissen (Credit: R. Leupolt)
The election of the new bishop follows the usual rules laid down in the Concordat between Prussia and the Holy See of 1929: the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, requests suggestions for the new bishop from the dioceses covering the former territory of Prussia and sends these to the pope. The pope, or rather the Congregation for Bishops, and following the collection of further information on the candidates by the nuncio, selects his three favoured candidates, and this list is then sent to the cathedral chapter, who elect their new bishop from that list. After approval from the governments of, in this case, Hesse and Thuringia, the cathedral chapter sends the name of the elected to the pope, who then appoints him. Following the publication of the name of the new bishop, a date for consecration (if the new appointee is not a bishop yet) and installation. The consecration of the new bishop falls to the metropolitan of the Church province of which Fulda is a part: Archbishop Hans-Josef Becker of Paderborn. Before this, however, the new bishop makes an oath of loyalty to the German state and the Länder of Hesse and Thuringia.
^On the day that Bishop Algermissen retired, the newly-appointed bishop of Würzburg, Msgr. Franz Jung, made his oath of loyalty to the prime minister of Bavaria, Markus Söder. Bishop-elect Jung will be consecrated and installed on 10 June. (Credit: Markus Hauck (POW))
An archdiocese closing its cathedral. An unheard of development, surely? Not so in Utrecht, and it really is a logical conclusion in a diocese which is merging parishes and selling excess property: when it may be expected from a rural parish somewhere along the German border, why not from the inner-city parish where the archbishop happens to live?
It must be added that no decision to actually secularise and sell the cathedral of St. Catherine has yet been made. But the parish council has seemingly announced its plan to ask the archdiocese to allow the secularisation and sale of the ancient church, in order to solve the financial dire straits the parish, which encompasses all of the inner city of Utrecht, finds itself in. The final decision lies with the archbishop, Cardinal Willem Eijk, who usually agrees with such requests if the parish’s reasoning is sound. In this context, before anyone accuses the cardinal of willfully closing churches, even his own cathedral, it must be recalled that the archdiocese does not own her churches: the parish usually does, and they must finance the upkeep of sometimes ancient and monumental buildings in a time of decreasing church attendance and financial support from faithful.
Surely, the loss of its cathedral is a monumental event for a diocese, and it does not happen frequently or easily. In the case of the Archdiocese of Utrecht, it will have to find a new cathedral for the first time since 1853: St. Catherine’s was the only choice to become the cathedral of the newly-established archdiocese as it was the only Protestant church in Utrecht given over to the Catholics in 1842. The Protestants had used the current cathedral since 1636, and before that it had a secular use. It had in fact only been Catholic for only the first 20 years since its completion in 1560.
In other dioceses, the bishop’s seat has also been relocated to different churches in the past. A chronological overview:
1559: The church of St. John the Evangelist becomes the cathedral of the newly established Diocese of ‘s-Hertogenbosch. In Roermond, the church of the Holy Spirit is the new cathedral.
1661: St, Christopher’s in Roermond becomes a cathedral for the first time.
1801: Roermond is suppressed as a diocese, so St. Christopher’s ceases to be a cathedral.
1853: In Haarlem, the church of St. Joseph becomes the cathedral of the newly-established diocese of Haarlem. In Breda, The church of St. Anthony of Padua becomes the new cathedral, and in Roermond, the bishop’s seat is again established in St. Christopher’s.
1876: Breda’s cathedral of St. Anthony becomes a parish church again and the bishop’s seat moves to St. Barbara’s.
1898: The cathedral of St. Bavo in Haarlem, still under construction, becomes the cathedral of the Diocese of Haarlem, the only current Dutch cathedral built as a cathedral.
1956: The church of St. Martin in Groningen becomes the cathedral of the eponymous diocese. At the same time, in Rotterdam, the church of St. Ignace becomes that diocese’s cathedral and is renamed as Ss. Lawrence & Ignace.
1967: Rotterdam’s church of St. Elisabeth becomes the cathedral of Ss. Lawrence and Elisabeth.
1968: St. Michael’s becomes the new cathedral of Breda.
1970: The cathedral of St. Martin of the Diocese of Groningen is secularised, and later demolished.
1981: The church of St. Joseph in Groningen becomes the new cathedral of the diocese of the same name.
2001: The seat of the bishop of Breda returns to St. Anthony of Padua, which resumes the title of cathedral after having lost it in 1876.
In the past centuries, there have been some changes in cathedrals in the Netherlands, with the Diocese of Breda taking the cake in number of switches: it has had three cathedrals – one of which twice – since 1853. Only in the southern dioceses of ‘s-Hertogenbosch and Roermond there has been significant stability. The only direct comparison to the developing situation regarding the cathedral of Utrecht is what transpired in Groningen in the 1970’s: the cathedral of St. Martin was closed in 1970, but remained the official cathedral until 1981, when it was demolished after having been deemed unsuitably to be rebuilt into the new university library. For 11 years, the Diocese of Groningen had a cathedral it no longer used, before another church took over the mantle. If Utrecht’s cathedral is closed and eventually secularised and sold, it is to be hoped that a new cathedral is found rather quicker. The most likely candidate is the church of St. Augustine, also located in the inner city of Utrecht, and the only other church in use by the city parish.
In the meantime, the announcement, which has not yet appeared officially in online media, has been met with sadness and disappointment, and the accusation that finances are the only reason for closing the cathedral, while its historical and religious importance for Catholics in Utrecht and beyond, as well as for all inhabitants of the city where St. Willibrord first established his see in the late 7th century, is being ignored.
EDIT: Shortly after my posting this, the cooperating parishes of Utrecht published a statement on their website. In it, they state an annual deficit of more than 400.000 euros, with building maintenance costs as one of the major posts, as the main reason to want to close St. Catherine’s cathedral. The parish of San Salvator, which owns and uses both the cathedral and the church of St. Augustine, is not able to keep both churches open. The cathedral is substantially more expensive than St. Augustine’s, so the parish will, in due course, request that the archbishop relegate it to profane use, per CIC §1222. The parish has extended feelers to the Catharijneconvent museum, which owns the former convent buildings adjacent to the cathedral, as a possible future owner. Moving the function of cathedral to St. Augustine’s is a process which will involve the Holy See. The entire process is still in a preliminary phase and may take several more years to complete.