Hos lifesitenews har jeg lest et interessant intervju med kardinal Eijk, erkebiskop i Utrecht i Nederland. Her er litt av intervjuet:
Cardinal Eijk, what is the state of health of Catholicism in northern Europe? We know that the Church is experiencing a difficult situation…
The Catholic Church is shrinking throughout northern Europe. The Netherlands has the questionable honor of being the leader in this phenomenon: we were the first country where the shrinkage began. In the meantime, there is a decrease in the number of faithful throughout northern Europe. Especially in Germany where decline is rapid … but I know that even in countries like Spain and Italy the shrinkage is a phenomenon that’s being felt.
What is the reason for this?
The main cause is the individualism that characterizes modern Western society. Because of the increase in prosperity, people have become independent. One can still see the difficulty families have in passing on the faith, in a context where it’s increasingly pushed out the door. In social life, the Christian religion is no longer present and is viewed with scarcely hidden or even manifest hostility. As far as the Netherlands is concerned, we are in a phase in which parishes are merging and many churches are no longer being used for worship.
Cardinal, you have spoken about “individualism” but are there also other causes?
The cause is the lack of active faithful who participate in Church celebrations and support the church as volunteers and/or with their financial contributions. In Holland there are no church taxes. The Church in Holland survives on the basis of voluntary contributions from the faithful. This makes the Church poor, but also free from the State, which I consider a great advantage, one that surpasses the disadvantage of poverty. ….
Cardinal Eijk, how do you think the picture will evolve?
The future collaborators of the priests in parishes will mainly be permanent deacons, catechists and volunteer deacons’ assistants. The churches that remain will be centers for large regional parishes. However, although the quantity [of parishes] is decreasing, their quality is increasing. This is the other aspect of the situation: we are becoming more and more a Church of choice, where people truly want to achieve something from the faith. And we mustn’t forget that the Church historically has known other ups and downs, and that ultimately we are in the hands of God. ….
Have you read the Viganò dossier? What do you think about it?
I cannot judge well the content of his letters, but it is clear that this matter should be thoroughly examined. In the meantime, many bishops have also asked for [a thorough investigation]. The Holy See has announced that it will examine more thoroughly the case of Theodore McCarrick, and I am of the opinion that this is very welcome. It has to be fully clarified if the Church wants her credibility back. …