Rorate Caeli

Desacralization - I. Saint Catherine's church, Brussels


St. Catherine's - Said to be the largest church in the center of Brussels


The article is from the latest newsletter of DICI:

Belgium: A church soon to be turned into a fruit and vegetable market

Because it serves too few of the faithful, St. Catherine’s Church in the heart of the Belgian capital may soon be desecrated and turned into a fruit and vegetable market.
The announcement, published in early November by the City of Brussels, provoked a strong mobilization and the creation of the association “Friends of St. Catherine.” Its online petition has currently gathered 1,820 signatures. “Shall we remain silent and passive before such an aberration? Will we abandon our largest church in the center of the city (…) which attracts 2.5 million visitors?” One can read the petition Stop the Desecration of St. Catherine’s Church in Brussels on the association’s web site.

The organizers of the petition recall that this neo-Gothic church, built in the late nineteenth century, houses a vibrant Catholic community of about 100 faithful every Sunday, as well as a community… of 150 Romanian Orthodox faithful, “in harmonious ecumenical cohabitation.”

For Bishop John Kockerols, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Malines-Brussels, “We deliberated much before we took the option to reallocate the Church of St. Catherine in the center of the city of Brussels as a covered fruit and vegetable market.” In a statement released November 8, he estimates that this transformation will “involve maintaining a place of worship on the site, albeit a more modest one, that would allow passers-by a private place to pray and find rest, silence and refreshment. The future of St. Catherine’s Church is part of an overall consideration concerning all the churches in the city center.” (Sources: apic / catho.be – DICI No. 245 of 25/11/11)


The blog of the Amis de Sainte-Catherine: Eglise Sainte-Catherine à Bruxelles

An article on the situation, in Dutch: Geen woontoren, wel markthal voor Sint-Katelijnekerk

An article on the profane uses to which numerous Belgian churches and convents have been diverted: Nos églises transformées en dancing?

15 comments:

shane said...

Oh I was in this before. What a pity.

I suspect we're going to hear of a lot of church closures in the next two decades, as the collapse in priest numbers really intensifies.

Knight of Malta said...

Cathedral as nightclub? Why not! As man loses his religion (especially after Vatican II) it is very important that his Epicurean nature be satisfied!

But more than this, he loves to mock that gift that God gave him through Christ, which is only offered in the Church that he founded--Salvation.

Church Swap said...

Can we swap this one with the Crystal Cathedral in Orange County??

Adfero said...

As sad as this is, not sure I'd call 100 people in a church this size "vibrant."

At least it's not becoming a mosque.

Jusztinián G. Ratkaj said...

To replace the extreme liberal nomenclature (in this case Cardinal Daneels) with the neoconservative (Léonard) will not by any means lead to a trend reversal in belgian ecclesiastical affairs (as well as in Spain after Cardinal Enrique y Tarancón it failed utterly), this appointmoints are not more than nominating managers in bankruptcy for the sheer pandemonium of the belgian church.

authoressaurus said...

I was just reading a book about the insidious career of Martin Borman, and in the chapter concerning his war against the Catholic monasteries and other church property, it describes the laws he wrote authorizing the seizure of church properties justified by their being turned into things like a school, a rest home, a market, or a gymnasium. What the Nazis were unable to do to St. Catherine's our own bishops are accomplishing, given a longer reign than Hitler enjoyed. The book also details how the church was persecuted and undermined by false a campaign of accusations of misconduct. Unfortunately, given more time than the Nazis enjoyed in power, the forces of Socialism (the KGB admitted having done it since the 1920's) have infiltrated our church to the point that they have been able to make these pederastic and pedaphilic accusations a reality, rendering places like St. Catharines grist for reparations and court judgements. Such is the war against the church, currently being waged from within. Don't be surprised.

Peterman said...

Go ahead Belgium, turn it into a night club and fruit market. Chastisement is a comin'.

Matthew said...

Instead, how about Bp. Kockerels invites the Romanion "Orthodox" group to convert to the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church under the Successor of Peter. Turning a church such as this into a fruit and vegetable market seems to be a direct request for a repeat of Our Lord's temple cleansing.

Gratias said...

Belgium itself has become a fruit and vegetable market. Small wonder Pope Benedict XVI is preaching the new evangelization of Europe. Those of us who live within driving range of the TLM are very fortunate.

LeonG said...

Is there a Catholic Church left in Belgium? Daneels must be pleased with his handiwork. Perhaps a mosque would be in order, then the Belgian episcopate and presbyterate can attend its inauguartion following the"spirit of Assisi".

LeonG said...

"new evangelization of Europe"

I would be wary of the emphasis on "new". What Europe needs is a traditonal Roman Catholic style mission.

Beryl said...

This is sad news. I know this church quite well from visits to Brussels and I have heard Mass there frequently. It is a magnificent building, full of good furniture and stained glass. The irony is that there is a vegetable and flea market outside and presumably it is being moved in.

A problem is that the centre of Brussels, full of lovely churches, is almost entirely depopulated and there are not enough people to go round. Nearly all of them struggle for that reason. The centres of many major European cities suffer from the same problem, hence this tragic secularisation. Hardly anybody lives in the centres today.

Beryl said...

This is sad news. I know this church quite well from visits to Brussels and I have heard Mass there frequently. It is a magnificent building, full of good furniture and stained glass. The irony is that there is a vegetable and flea market outside and presumably it is being moved in.

A problem is that the centre of Brussels, full of lovely churches, is almost entirely depopulated and there are not enough people to go round. Nearly all of them struggle for that reason. The centres of many major European cities suffer from the same problem, hence this tragic secularisation. Hardly anybody lives in the centres today.

Ligusticus said...

Apropos de DICI...

http://www.dici.org/actualites/terre-sainte-le-patriarche-latin-de-jerusalem-autorise-la-messe-tridentine/

http://www.dici.org/actualites/linquietude-du-rabbin-david-rosen-sur-un-eventuel-retour-de-la-fraternite-saint-pie-x/



IMHO, it might be interesting to open the above links.

Louis said...

The church building is preserved, not torn down. This means Belgian people, or Europeans in general, like to preserve such buildings to satisfy their good taste, while not wanting to have anything to do with Christ and Christianity. This is like dumping a girl but still like to lug her around just to look good. How cruel! How cruel! Dear Bishop, please have the spine to just tear it down. This is a house of God for crying out loud! Jesus begs us to meet Him there and if you can't protect holy ground and have to retreat, at least do so with dignity!