Monday, April 25, 2016

After 50 Years of Liberal Church Management: 36 of 110 Churches of Brussels Will be Closed

36 of 110 Churches of Brussels shall soon be closed: The fate of
St. Nicholas (left) and Our Lady of Zavel are not certain.
(Brussels) In Brussels, capital of Belgium, 36 out of 110 Catholic churches will soon be closed and sold. The change in Archbishop also brought a change of direction back to "structural reforms" instead of spiritual renewal. It is the sad result of a homemade, progressive decline.

Brussels is also the headquarters of the European Union. The leftist city government majority in the municipal council consists of one third Muslims. These are two aspects that provide explanations for this unprecedented decline. Another key aspect is the decades-long line of liberal archbishops in the Archdiocese.

Cardinal Danneel's restructuring plans

Yet in 2010 there was a turning point: Archbishop André-Joseph Léonard tried as archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels, certainly with recognizable success, to revive by the establishment and promotion of a small but faithful group in some churches that had been devastated for decades by his predecessor, Cardinal Godfried Danneels (Archbishop 1980-2010, Cardinal since 1983) which were already threatened of being put up for sale. Léonard's term of only five years, however, was too short. In addition, this churchman who fought in Europe's front line, received neither the necessary encouragement nor the necessary support.

Although Brussels has traditionally been linked to the dignity of cardinal, he was not granted it by Benedict XVI. not out of a false consideration for Danneels who was not yet 80 years old. Pope Francis did not even think to dream of it, to give a "Ratzingerian" like Léonard, the declared object of hatred of Francis-friend Danneels, the purple dignity. So Léonard's days were numbered.

On November 6, 2015, he was retired by Francis. With Jozef De Kesel, a Danneels man was named as the new archbishop, who quicly moved away from Léonard's restoration efforts and returned to the closure and sale policy of Danneels. Houses of worship would be sold off for little money. According to the plans of Archbishop De Kesel, newly established in his post on December 12, 2015 soon, there would be 36 of 110 churches closed in the "capital" of Europe. There has been no comparable action by the Church in all of its History in a European capital.

Archbishop De Kesel made his plans known in 2005

The daily newspaper La Libre published the plans with two articles. This did not only disturb the peace of Belgian Catholics. The question touches on other places of European catholicity in addition to Belgium, which are in the post-conciliar decline.

The third Christian millennium began with Cardinal Danneel's "restructuring plans". The conveyance and merging of parishes were central keywords that were given concrete shape from 2005 onwards. Jozef De Kesel was then Episcopal Vicar for the Vicariate Brussels, one of the three vicariates of the Archdiocese. It was De Kesel who announced the plans for the "future" of parishes in 2005. They were based on two considerations: as the number of Catholics decline, the number of parishes was greater than the demand, and especially greater than the funds; in addition, the high number of parishes of our Church does not fit the "multireligious and multicultural" dimension "of our modern society." It's a common choice of words to disguise Islamization. In Brussels there are more practicing Muslims than Catholics. The first name Mohammed has lead for several years on the list of newborn boys. Yet the theme of Islamization is politically undesirable among the dominant forces and must therefore must not be addressed. The same applies to the disintegration of the Catholic community through immigration into many small, independent, ethnic communities. Even immigration coming from Catholic sources has brought fragmentation rather than unity.

Current situation

 The Kingdom of Belgium is a historical artifact in a linguistic-cultural space in transition. Since Germany, the Netherlands and France have territorial claims on the region, the great powers created it in 1830 from the former Austrian-Netherlands into a separate state in order not to disturb the balance of power. The inner layer is linguistically therefore, somewhat more complex than in other European countries, and this includes Church organization.

In the area of Brussels, there are 107 parishes which employ 250 priests. 11 pastoral units are Dutch-speaking (Flemish), 25 pastoral units are French (Walloons). Plus, there are 42 different foreign-language communities. All of these parishes, units and communities are summarized in four deaneries. According to information of the weekly magazine Tempi  36 pastoral parish units will be dissolved and at least one church be closed.

This does not mean that all churches are to be profaned immediately. But it is to say that all church activities such as baptisms, first communions, confirmations, catecheses are discontinued. The profanation and the sale are the next step. The first article of Le Libre last March 22 was like a shock to the faithful.

Churches as an object of speculation?

Some parishes are hard to keep. There is a lack of faithful and the funds are scarce among Brussels Catholics. The radical deforestation leaves the faithful in fear that even vibrant parishes could fall under the bureaucrat's wheels when their churches located in "interesting" parts of the city are set aside for real estate speculation. Among the seven criteria for the conveyance of parishes is the term "urban projects."

Above all, the faithful do not understand why parishes are to be dissolved, although there are enough priests to look after them.

The pastor of a small parish that is to be abandoned, asked not to close the church, but to leave it to the Polish community which still lacks their own church. The proposal was rejected.

According to La Libre there is no definite decision which parishes are to be closed. In the near future a meeting between a group of concerned Catholics and the reigning Episcopal Vicar for Brussels, Jean Kockerols, is to take place.

New Archbishop De Kesel has Introduced His Closure Plan Again

The big "remodeling" of the Catholic Church in Brussels, which had been put in the drawer by Archbishop Léonard, had once again been put on the table as soon as De Kesel took over the office as Archbishop. De Kesel announced the "reconstruction" in his pastoral letter of 2005. Cardinal Danneels wanted De Kesel to be installed as his successor in 2010. That was rejected by Benedict XVI. who gave the assignment to Léonard, the then Bishop of Namur, with the attempt to at revival. With the election of Pope Francis, however, in which Cardinal Danneels as a member of Team Bergoglio and the secret circle Sankt Gallen is again operational, the chapter of Léonard and Benedict XVI. for the Belgian church came to an end faster than expected.

Soon numerous Brussels churches are being offered on the real estate market for sale. It's a sad highlight in the decline of the self-adulating conciliar Church which says there is "no alternative." .

Text: Giuseppe Nardi
 Image: Wikicommons (assembly)
Trans: Tancred
Link to Katholisches...


Dan said...

Fifty three parishes were closed in 2012 by the Archbishop of Detroit. He is regarded by most as belonging on the conservative branch of the Church.

Vox Cantoris said...

Dan, Detroit's population h fallen by over a million people since 1957, - there are real issues in that.

Tony V said...

What evidence, exactly, does the hierarchy need to conclude that Vatican II has failed?

Dan said...

Parish closures are happening especially in urban centers around the world. Over the past year for example 112 parishes have been merged in Manhattan alone along with around 55 churches closed.
It would be naïve, I think, to lay blame on Vatican II. It is most likely a mix of economics, physical degradation of properties and demographics.

Tancred said...

Or evil clergy.

Tancred said...

Dearden was no conservative.

Dan said...

Over the past twenty years over a thousand parishes have closed across the US.
It's even worse in many parts of Europe.

Tancred said...

Indeed, Europe is in full compliance on the spirit of Vatican II with the worst Diocese being the most liberal, see Detroit, Brussels, Vienna, etc...

Tony V said...

Dan, you didn't actually answer my question.

Tancred said...

He tends to do that.

LeonG said...

Liberal modernism is a deadly disease. In another generation most of the churches in Brussels will no longer be functional as such. There are no red lamps left in the neo-catholic church and surely Our Blessed Lord, insulted in them regularly must have left them to their own devious liturgical and pastoral devices.
let us face the reality - who in their right mind and in the true Faith wants this neo-protestant form of pantheism with its gravely disorientated papacies?

LeonG said...

They are too blinded by their own conceit. Our Blessed Lord and Our Blessed lady are an embarrassment to them and their deceitful ecumenism.

Anonymous said...

are you familiar with the concept of confusing cause and effect?

M. Prodigal said...

I read that 1/3 of the churches in Wales will also be closed.

The pagan hordes will be happy to either take possession or demolish them.

Anonymous said...

It's all because of Vatican II!
I hate Vatican II!

Anonymous said...

He's not conservative. He's another fat modernist beurocrat who stands for nothing except protecting his own butt.

Tancred said...


Anonymous said...

My brother Ari, who is younger than me (21) is a traditional Catholic as well, but thinks I am too extreme when I state that for the most part, I don't think there is much of anything left of most Archdioceses or even dioceses across the Catholic world since Vatican II. Except for places that have kept the Poland.
Here in our own Archdiocese of Philadelphia, in my 28 years of life I have seen close to 90 parishes closed or merged (we had about 330 parishes before Vatican II, down to about 180 now). Mass attendance before Vatican II was in our Archdiocese about 87%, and now it's about 15%. We had about 575 seminarians studying for our Archdiocese before Vatican II, with about 25 of them based in Rome, or at the Louvain College in Belgium( when it was still a Catholic school). Today we had about 46 total seminarians....lower than the number of seminarians studying for the Archdiocese during the years of the Civil War (even then, there were about 70 seminarians for Philadelphia).
Before Vatican II, we had 7.700 nuns in the Archdiocese, fully 75% staffing about 280 parish schools, 7 nursing homes for the elderly, and 5 large hospitals...not to mention about 30 private elementary or highschools....and 7-8 cloistered convents. Sisters were fully 90% of the teaching staff in schools. And there were 4 huge convents which were Motherhouses for the 4 largest Orders of sisters in the Archdiocese. Ten or 15 other smaller Orders had their novitiates here also. And there were about 300 young men studying in 5-6 religious Order seminaries or novitiates scattered around the Archdiocese...usually out in the suburbs on vast tracts of land.
Today, there are only about 2,300 nuns in the Archdiocese, with a median age of 76. They make up about 1% of the teaching staff in the 175 parishes that still have schools. In the highschools, it's even less. And the private schools have either been sold to lay Catholics, or have 1 nun on staff...the principal. Two of the once flourishing Catholic religious Order seminaries (the Augustinians and the Vincentians) have been closed for years. All the 6 Catholic cemeteries to bury the faithful in blessed ground are no longer owned/administered by the Archdiocese....they were sold to lay groups at the height of the priest/sex abuse scandals 7-8 years ago. The Cardina-Archbishop;s mansion has been sold, and the once popular but for years since Vatican II Archdiosecean newspaper, was closed 3 years ago.
The number of ordinations has gone down from a average from the high 50's (1930's all the way thru to 1963), fell into the 20's thru the 1970's and now has hit practically rock bottom with 3-4 per year.
The number of priests has collapsed from 1,300 before Vatican II, to about 420 today and a median age approaching 70.
The situation is far worse in Europe (France, Belgium,Netherlands, Ireland,England, Germany...and even Italy. Bad also in Latin America.
Relatives in India said that even there, the number of seminarians(particularly for the Jesuits), are falling, as are vocations to convents....especially the liberal ones.
So for all these reasons, I'd like to think otherwise, but from the stats, compared to the Catholic Church of pre-Vatican II days, there's really nothing to speak of left on most dioceses and archdioceses....unless the Faith has been in Poland.
Damian Malliapalli

Anonymous said...

Huge European hoax and deception.

C de Pierre said...

Which ones?

Kenny said...

It is all very sad. But the good news is, traditional Orders and Churches are flourishing, all over the world.