Rorate Caeli

Varia from the Netherlands

1). A little more than two months ago, various websites reported (and praised) the introduction of a monthly Mass according to the 1962 Missal in the St. Joseph Cathedral of the Diocese of Groningen-Leeuwarden in the Netherlands. (NLM's report -- with videos -- can be found here, while Paix Liturgique mentions it here.) The first Mass was attended by around 80 people -- not an inconsiderable number, especially for the Netherlands.

After only two monthly celebrations (one each for April and May), the blog In Caelo reports that the Mass has been discontinued:

At Catholica, editor Tom Zwitser shares some discouraging news. After two Masses, the celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Latin rite of the Mass at the cathedral of St. Joseph is to be discontinued immediately. Sad news, and the reasons for this decision not only highlight the lack of communication (which I, in a different context, have also experienced) within the parish and the Diocese of Groningen-Leeuwarden, but also the contradictory position with the world Church taken by the diocese...


But what is now happening in Groningen? After two EF Masses in April and May (announced as to take place on every first Sunday of the month, celebrated out of necessity by priests from outside the diocese, initially until summer, but with the implied possibility that they may continue after that if an average of 30 faithful would be attending at that point), a decision was made to limit the number of Masses to four per year. This, as Mr. Zwitser quotes, “not to encourage a division of spirits within the parish”. It must be said, at this point, that finding qualified priests, acolytes and volunteers willing to organise and celebrate these Masses is difficult in this diocese, with such a small number of clergy and faithful to begin with. This difficulty, coupled with, in his words, the lack of cooperation he received, led Mr. Zwitser to decide not to continue as the lone mandated organiser.

Maybe the diocese will continue offering EF Masses, but this first attempt can be considered a failure. It’s quite sad that there seems to be such opposition to the older form of the Mass, especially when Rome has been quite clear in this respect...

2) In Caelo also reports that for this year, the Catholic Church in the Netherlands (six dioceses and one archdiocese) expect to have a total of 6 new priests, down from 13 in 2010. Of the six, three come from the Diocese of Groningen-Leeuwarden, which has the smallest number of Catholics among the Dutch dioceses. The Archdiocese of Utrecht and the dioceses of Haarlem-Amsterdam and Roermond each have one new priest for this year. Nine transitional deacons all in all are also set to be ordained this year -- four for Roermond, three for Haarlem-Amsterdam, and two for ‘s Hertogenbosch. Hopefully all nine will be ordained priests next year.


Prognosticator said...

The Netherlands had 12 priestly ordinations in 2008. As late as the 1990's there were 20-30 ordinations per annum.

More on the collapse of the Dutch Church:



Written in 1996:

Written more recently:

Anonymous said...

Step Number One: Stop calling our Mass this E.F. nonsense and start calling it what it is: the Traditional Latin Mass. And, yes, I've read S.P. It's just that I don't suffer nonsense gladly.


Anonymous said...

In France, we are now going backwards. We have lost the every-Sunday T.L.M. first in the Diocese of Angoulême and then in the Diocese of Evreux. In the first case, the I.C.R. withdrew from the Diocese after the Bishop there continued to cause grief to its priests. The second loss is owing to the infamous Fr. Michel case at Thiberville.

The Marxist French bishops continue to defy Rome with impunity. It's how they get their fun.

Meanwhile, in the U.S.A., the Diocese of Sioux City, Iowa, has lost its every-Sunday T.L.M.

In Canada, the Archdiocese of Winnipeg has lost its every-Su. T.L.M. at the City of Brandon; and we have lost our every-Sunday T.L.M. in the Diocese of Antigonish, N.S.

The approved T.L.M. every Sunday in Bratislava has now been deferred, while the every-Su. T.L.M. in Lithuania--the only one--has disappeared from the listings.

Do something, P.C.E.D.


Anonymous said...

PKTP: may I correct you? The mass lost by the ICRSP (and the faithful!) was in Agen and not in Angoulême (where the bishop's name is Dagens, that may have confused you).


Brian said...

Brick by brick?

Anonymous said...

LOL!!!! How many priests did the Netherlands ordain before Vatican II and the Novus Ordo.....close to 500+, so many that many were sent out to the missions, in Africa and Asia....and in the later part of the 19th century, even to the USA.

Same situation exists in Ireland today. Over 1,000 priests were ordained in Ireland per year from the late 19th century, up until 1965 . This includes both all new diosecean and religious Order priests.

Then along came Vatican II and the Novus Ordo. Now Ireland is as low or lower than the Netherlands.

Answer: Vatican II and the Novus Ordo are Catholic Church killers.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,22 June, 2011 09:43:

there was no Sunday TLM Mass in Bratislava,just a Saturday evening (Sunday anticipated) recited Mass in near village Most.It is now a monthly Mass,still recited.

David said...

Brick by brick?

I wonder if Fr Z still genuinely believes that?

Athelstane said...

This, as Mr. Zwitser quotes, “not to encourage a division of spirits within the parish”.

Apparently only one side in this drama is capable of causing "division" - no matter how disempowered it is.

Athelstane said...

Answer: Vatican II and the Novus Ordo are Catholic Church killers.

In fairness, we can't pretend that had the Council never taken place (or the liturgical "reforms" that happened in its wake), that the Church would have come through the 60's cultural revolution unscathed. The Church is not, was not, hermetically sealed off from western society. It's really hard for me to believe that vocations wouldn't have taken a hit.

But *this* hard of a hit? At some point you must be judged by your fruits. And those fruits are rotten - a total vocational collapse in many areas. Which is hardly surprising given that so few are resorting to any of the other sacraments, either. Don't relieve yourself on our legs and tell us it's a cool spring rain.

The reformers have been reduced to whining that the "reforms" did not go far enough. It's all they have left. Somehow the meltdown of denominations like the ECUSA that went "all the way" is never taken as probative.

incaelo said...

In all honesty, it must be said that the Dutch seminaries have been undergoing a bit of an upheaval recently. The one in Utrecht was closed, and the diocesan seminary of Haarlem-Amsterdam is increasingly becoming an interdiocesan seminary (in my opinion, that is a good thing). Those upheavals, while essentially understandable and correct, will have an effect on the number of seminarians, both new young men and ones closer to ordination.

Couple this with the relentless secular attacks on the Church from Dutch media (and, sadly, fellow Catholics), and it becomes clear that the lack of orthodoxy, so to speak, while certainly in evidence, is not the sole cause of the small number of ordinations per year.

Yes, the numbers are small, but considering the past few years, this year's crop may be just a fluke. I think that the numbers will be higher again next year.

Henry said...

I wonder if Fr Z still genuinely believes that?

Well, I certainly do. In some areas where there was no TLM a half dozen years ago, we have plenty of seminarians, most interested in the TLM, more fine young priests ready and willing to celebrate the TLM than are justified by the number of people who want it--several Sunday TLMs within easy driving distance with enough people for one good congregation. With some exceptions, I see the TLM wherever there enough people wanting it.

We need to quit tilting at windmills and bishops, and get out and "evangelize" our fellow Catholics. That's the remaining brick. Most of the time and energy spent writing whining blog comments might be better used.

shane said...

Personally I'm inclined to welcome the collapse in vocations --- and not just in the Netherlands. Priests these days are extremely poorly formed (even brainwashed) and the Church just couldn't go on the way she was.

Anonymous said...

No priests = no Mass and no sacraments.

Where no TLM affects people, contact your bishop. If you are not successful, contact the Pont. Com. Ecclesia Dei.

PS. It is not all dreary in the Low Countries. There are small signs of the hope which we Catholics ALL must have, through thick and thin.

Fr. in the Low Countries.

Anonymous said...

..............And they still say that Vatican 2 didn't cause the decline. Over 500 vocations prior to the Council, 13 today. Figures don't lie but liars figure!

Anonymous said...

Dear PKTP,

While I agree with the disdain regarding the interpretation of the term EF that spins this Ordo and the New Ordo as being two sides of the same coin, I see nothing wrong in applying the term Extraordinary form if it is interpreted the way the Holy Father has insinuated, and organizations like Ecclesia Dei promote it, namely that being "Extra" ordinary implies it is much better, richer, auspicious.

On the 'brick by brick' front, I also disagree. We are not seeing any bricks getting laid and the house is still in shambles. Nothing has changed in Toronto, Canada either.

However, this does not mean that there is no progress in a traditional sense. In my view, SP and UE's key value is not so much the 'brick by brick' edification of holy mother Church, but rather in its "sickle" effect of separating wheat from chaff.

Where SP and UE are having a brick by brick impact is in dioceses where bishops and priests exist today who are already friendly to the Ancient Ordo (which I shall term the "AO" from now on, so as to keep the most respected PKTP positively engaged). Where AO-friendly clerics exist, SP and UE have definitely help the cause of tradition, no reasonable person can deny it.

Where they are against the AO, no progress and as has been documented in this Netherlands diocese and others PKTP noted, no progress at all and in fact even a reversal of the sparing goodness that may have been there earlier.

So if anything, we have a much clearer picture of "Who is for" Christ and "Who is against" Him, since 2007.

But for the most part, the real change will only come when anti-AO priests and bishops are dismissed and anti-AO-ism (which is different IMHO than pro-NOism) becomes an ecclesial "CLM" (Career limiting move), and AO-friendly becomes the zeitgeist norm for seminaries and career advancement. But SP and UE were critical elements for that to be able to happen.

Anonymous said...

Anon 15:30 and others who diss Vatican 2 as "the cause" ...

Malta in 2011 is a real case in point. Many Catholics (if one can still call them that) still have the compunction to pop into Church during their hectic workday (an relatively straightforward task in a nation with 2 or 3 beautiful churches every city block or so), and go to confession regularly, and there are still about 67-70% of people who go to Mass every Sunday.

But the recent divorce referendum showed the rot underlying those seemingly encouraging facts.

- 38% recently voted in favor of legalizing divorce - one has to say a lot of these are just out and out anti-Catholics judging by the media blogs. But going into that referendum, 40% of registered voters expressed CONFUSION as to "whether it was sinful or not for a Catholic to vote in favor of legalizing divorce".

- 28% did not bother voting but according to informal sources as well as media reports a good number of these were inclined to vote in favor of divorce but did not also out of doubt/fear of their salvation. That is, they wanted to vote in favor, but didn't to play it safe

- The leading Maltese theologians provided an official answer to the question "Is it sinful to vote for divorce?" with a "Not necessarily". They played the theological corner case of a Tarzan like kid growing up in outer space who has no formal Catholic education. But they never explained that that corner case could NEVER possibly be the case in Malta, the most Catholic nation on the planet (95% of the population), and moreover did not explain that their simple education of the Catholic Catechism and the infallible declaration of Trent (session 24 cat 5 and 7) could easily dispel such "excusable ignorance".

Also, some of the leading priests who have columns and TV shows in the media deliberately stated that they were in favor of divorce laws, only later, in interviews and private commentaries to downplay it. One of these priests called the most vocal anti-divorce political figure in the island (PResident Emeritus Edward Fenech Adami) an "ass" in his TV interview, only later to give a little scriptural study on how well respected donkeys and asses are in the Bible. But there was nothing complementary about his calling EFA an ass.

In short, neither Vatican 2 nor the NO Mass (in Maltese, which is alot closer in translation to the original Latin) in my view are the cause of the fall of Catholic Malta, but clerics - who are either wicked in deliberately seeking to confuse the faithful, or - since I cannot judge personal intentions - culpably incompetent, which could in turn be the result of their formation.

A good priest with a traditional heart can in fact use both Vatican 2 and the NO Mass to promote good morals, soundly formed Catholic consciences and a growing devotion to the EF Mass. But the will has to be there. And what we see is unwilling or antagonistic clerics holding the EF back as well. These folks would not follow Vatican 2 faithfully anyways because following Church law faithfully is not their genetic make up. As such, Vatican 2 is simply a useful tool, when interpreted to suit certain wicked or culpably stupid intents, but cannot in my view be termed "THE" cause.
"The" cause has to be something else likely something that preceded V2 and its spawn the NO.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anon. 16:42

Thank you for your insight in the situation on Malta and for sharing some numbers and idea's on the voting.

Now at the end of your post you write something interesting: "A good priest with a traditional heart can in fact use both Vatican 2 and the NO Mass to promote good morals, soundly formed Catholic consciences..."

Mgr. Lefebvre actually warned us here, that there is a big danger in Vat II and the NOM. See also the so-called Ottaviani Intervention (a short, critical study of the NOM). The expected/feared dangers that the NOM was thought to bring (then heavily criticized as being "superficial, exaggerated, inexact, emotional and false") now, 40 years later, seem to have become true...

In that sense, the last part of your phrase was interesting:

"...and a growing devotion to the EF Mass". To me, that seems to be the only way. Abandon the NOM project and return to the object of the "action survie": the Tridentine Mass and the fullness of the Catholic Faith.

May our Heavenly Mother intercede for us by her Divine Son!


Anonymous said...

I find it funny how so many are suprised about this and the lack of priests in the Netherlands. The Church was not perfect, but the seminaries and convents were packed this is a FACT! After the disaster called Vatican 2 the collapse began. How much longer can the Novus Ordo defend this council, and pretend it did not cause this disaster. Return to the Traditional Latin Mass now!!

P Moscatelli said...

It is indeed sad that an attempt to reintroduce the Mass of ages does not succeed; however, may I point out that it is not necessarily easy to start such an experience anew. You need people to serve, sing, keep contacts with the Ecclesiastical Authorities, prepare bilingual leaflets ... and participate once the celebration is there, invite friends, try to reach out to new people. Unfortunately, you may rather find people who do not show up, do not help you to form altar servers, who do not sing, who complain about this detail or that and do not help due to their liturgical purity ... I don't want to say that this was the case here, but I do understand the promotor who, if I read the article correctly, seems to have had a tough time and gave up (at least for the moment). Many "traditionalists" are very good at bickering on internet blogs but not very good at all when it comes to give a hand in the practicalities involved in the creation of a new place of celebration of the Mass of ages according to the new legislation. If half of the time spent on making uncharitable comments about bishops on various blogs was spent in prayer for the same Ordinaries and in the attempt to gather friends and family to form a "stable group", and then presenting this group to the very same bishops, then we would see an explosion in the number of traditional Masses all over the place!
Let me add that "traditional blogs" are read, and uncharitable comments are read as well by ecclesiastical authorities, and ... they DO NOT help our cause (btw we will be held responsible by our Lord for every idle word, also e-words said online). What does help is prayer and showing ecclesiastical authorities that the request for the traditional Mass is founded in love for our Lord, not in ideology making the Mass into some kind of banner. And believe me, I know this from experience.
Anyway, this Dutch setback may be only temporary. Could people out there help our Dutch friends, the probably very tired promotor, all souls of good will who went to that Mass, by praying more and complaining less? I never met a person close to God without a smile or making caustic comments such as read here.

Joe B said...

The snakes inside the church prior to Vatican II didn't have the power or organization to effect their agenda. They got it at the council with, at the very least, the approval of the pope. Both were needed - the council and papal authority. You might claim they would eventually have forced their destruction upon us, but the fact is they actually got the power and organization at the council, and without Paul VI they likely wouldn't have even succeeded in overthrowing the council's agenda, much less have run rampant over our traditions. And then the pope himself detonated the nuclear bomb on us laymen with that Novus Ordo mass.

If the mass had not been changed so radically many of the faithful might have weathered the storm in blissful ignorance. On the whole they don't care about what clergy are arguing about as long as they get their sacraments. In time, it might have been possible to correct for many of the errors of our day had the man in the pews not converted to protestantism. But when the faithful lost their sense of reverence, their sense of our past, traditions, and history, and their identity as Catholics, the solution became a complete startover. We may never recover.

So I look at the loss of the TLM as the critical turning point and the most devastating event by far. And that is aptly named the Mass of Paul VI.

By the way, I recommend you stop waiting for the rest of the church to 'get it' and run to the TLM. There's no sensus Catholicus out there, folks. They're not going our way. The Novus Ordo is their golden calf, and they have thus far chosen to stay with that easy god of whatever the priest wants.

So if it wasn't the council, it was the pope. Take your pick. I don't care. I get my sacraments from SSPX, God bless them.

I know the faith when I see it.

Gratias said...

P Moscatelli is right. One thing is to post in blogs, another to help build a new Latin Mass group. I do not serve or sing in a choir. But try to attend TLM whenever we can take the 75 mile trip (and we live within the city of Los Angeles!), which comes out to about twice a month.

In my travels have experienced that Latin Masses do not have large crowds. This is true for Trinita die Pellegrini in Rome, Saint Germain d'Auxerois in Paris or our Lady-the-Sea in Newport Beach, CA. So we are not numerous, but but instead must be very dedicated. Training altar servers must be one of the great hurdles. We have to simplify things. One altar server will do for a low Mass, two for High Mass. The other aspect is to reduce expectation in the sense that a few faithful in attendance should be enough for an every-Sunday traditional Mass. You build it first, then they will come. Most Novus masses in Europe I have attended had 10-20 faithful too, so the Bishops should be pressured to have every-Sunday Traditional Mass for small groups too.

For a top-down approach, as pope Paul VI did, the Vatican should start by commanding one every-Sunday Latin mass per diocese worldwide and, more importantly, only nominate new bishops that have themselves given a Latin Mass. It would be like passing the Bar exam for lawyers: if you do not know all the Liturgy of The One Holy Catholic Church you should not participate in the governance of the Church. That would change many minds quickly!

Henry said...

"Abandon the NOM project and return to the object of the 'action survie': the Tridentine Mass and the fullness of the Catholic Faith."

This kind of flippant comment damages the traditional cause, if people of consequence in the Church actually read blogs like this.

My sacrificial commitment of personal "time, talent, and treasure" to getting TLM Masses started speaks for my own devotion.

But I know full well that the NO is the only Holy Sacrifice of the Mass that 99% of Catholics will see for the foreseeable future. For this great mass of Catholics, the significance of the TLM is that which Pope Benedict intends, a means (by "gravitational attraction" for pulling the NO out of the ditch.

And the primary way this will happen is through the new generation of faithful young priests who celebrate Holy Mass in both forms--in ordinary Catholic parishes rather than in separated ghettos. Every young priest I know, ordained in the past 10 years and celebrating both TLM and NO, celebrates the NO in a way different from the previous generation of malformed priests, and (unlike so many older priests) in a way that makes it actually recognizable as a form of the Roman rite.

Only by this means will the Church be restored. Although some may dream of the abandonment of the NO and a mandated universal imposition of the TLM, we must recognize this as a pipe dream that is not only impossible, but counterproductive to dwell on. Lest we be just another part of the problem, and not any part of the solution.

Dan said...


You might have chosen the wrong adjective to describe the comment you quoted from one of those who responded. "Flippant" it is not. I would categorize it more as heartfelt, perhaps a bit impatient, but certainly not flippant. My reason for pointing this out to you is to remind you how unutterably sick many of us are of this whole forty year nightmare we have been living. And the person you quoted is most likely someone who, like myself, has simply had it with this chaos.

Do not be too hard on us battle-weary veterans who, as one Cardinal in Rome personally told me over twenty-five years ago, have been "shat upon" by the leaders of the Church.

Brendan said...

Bravo Henry!

Joe B said...

I think you're wrong, Henry. The TLM is more reverent than any Novus Ordo and has a long historical tendency towards increased beauty and reverence, while the Novus Ordo has a tendency toward depravity. So the Novus Ordo is simply not durable. It cannot last.

But what would it take for the old mass to gain widespread use again? Nothing more than it took to unseat the old mass - a pope who wants it. It's that simple. Happened once, can happen again.

Henry said...

Dan: "My reason for pointing this out to you is to remind you how unutterably sick many of us are of this whole forty year nightmare we have been living. And the person you quoted is most likely someone who, like myself, has simply had it with this chaos."

I sincerely wonder whether either you or Joe is anywhere near as heartsick as I am over "this forty year nightmare". Or even understand what the word "heartsick" really means.

Unless you, like me, have actually lived through this entire forty-year nightmare. Even starting, as I did, as a young college student in the late 1950s converted by the very first TLM he attended (and the second he insisted on attending the next day). Then, after it became the most important thing in his life, daily TLM first thing each morning lighting up his whole day.

Then suddenly, came to church one morning and the priest was on the wrong side of the altar spouting English, asked people to stand form Holy Communion.

Or, not long thereafter, was among those go gathered to watch in tears as the sanctuary and high altar of our beautiful little church was literally jack-hammered and the altar rail shattered in splinters, along with the two side altars. The statue of Our Lady of the BVM was saved by retrieving it from the dumpster out back; my wife and I revered it for years before finally burying it properly.

For some reason, I wondered what had happened to our two censers which were not found in the dumpster. Until, that is, I saw them suspended on their chains in a neighbor's house, serving as unique hanging flowerpots.

No, Dan, you really cannot know what it means to truly be heartsick over this, not unless you happened to live the life I have, both the glory that preceded the Council and the long dark nightmare that followed. Without one, you can't really understand the other.

In the comment to which you referred, I simply spoke from the head in view of the sad reality of the Church as the nightmare has left it, and reading the mind of Benedict as to the foreseeable future. But I speak from the heart in thanking God that if I cannot live to see its end, at least I lived--as so many heartbroken millions did not--to see the beginning of the full restoration of truly heavenly liturgy for all Catholics.

Henry said...

Joe B: "So the Novus Ordo is simply not durable. It cannot last.

Precisely, not in its present form. In whose coffin, Deo gratias, Pope Benedict has placed the nail. By with the two forms legalism restoring the TLM to stand along side it.

Since the Novus Ordo has no stability built in, and in fact has never achieved a form stable in time and place--not even from one parish today to the adjacent parish tomorrow--Father Z's famous gravitational attraction will do its work. In time--even if it takes another biblical forty-year period--there will be one Mass again, though it will have both an entirely Latin form (the resplendent Mass of the Ages) and another that's more flexible in language and music, but otherwise is visibly the same heavenly liturgy.

The latter is pretty hard for most to imagine now, but if I were a prophet, I'd foresee that what looks historically inevitable will actually happen. All in due course. Now that Benedict has set the course

Dan said...


If I hadn't lived through it, in all its horrors, I wouldn't have written what I did.

Henry said...

Then, Dan, since we're members of the same band of brothers, let me share with you (in case you haven't seen it already) the impossible dream I've kept going back to in recent years: