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Dutch bishops report 'drastic secularization,' falling numbers of faithful

December 04, 2013

The Catholic bishops of the Netherlands, who are concluding their ad limina visits, have given Pope Francis a grim picture of the situation facing the Church in that country, the Reuters news service reports.

The Dutch bishop reported a “drastic secularization” of their country, aggravated by resentments stemming from the sex-abuse scandal there.

Cardinal Wilhelm Eijk of Utrecht, the president of the Dutch bishops’ conference disclosed that about 18,000 Catholics leave the Church each year--- although this year has since a slowing of the exodus, with only 7,500 having dropped their Catholic affiliation as of October. At least 600 Catholic churches are now scheduled to close within the next 5 years. The country’s Catholics now account for 16% of the national population, but that figure is expected to drop to 10% by the end of the decade, and only 5.6% of those who identify themselves as Catholics attend Mass on a regular basis.


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  • Posted by: tmsharel5764 - Dec. 04, 2013 10:53 PM ET USA

    Did the Dutch bishops give any reasons for Catholics leaving like maybe the influence of what the infamous Dutch Catechism taught? Do they have a program planned to win back their people like teaching them that the Church is the only way to salvation? These are a few thoughts that come to my mind.

  • Posted by: jg23753479 - Dec. 04, 2013 6:52 PM ET USA

    Could this be the end result of the Church's miserable record vis-a-vis the Jews in WW II? I always feel that, while the homosexual scandals have contributed to the loss of faith, the blindness of the Church in Europe preceding and during the war, its almost unmitigated appalling record concerning antisemitism, is what started us down this road to ruin. Disillusioned post-war parents didn't bother to pass the faith on, and now their children and grandchildren are abandoning the pews in droves.