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Parishioners back suspended Dutch priest

July 19, 2010

Parishioners are “furious” with Bishop Joseph Punt of Haarlem-Amsterdam for suspending their parish priest, Father Paul Vlaar, according to a Radio Netherlands report. Father Vlaar wore orange vestments-- the color of the Netherlands’ World Cup team-- during Sunday Mass on July 11. Father Vlaar also acted as a goalkeeper during Mass, standing in front of a goal as a parishioner kicked a soccer ball down the aisle.

“Child abuse is covered up, but a priest who threatens to become too popular is suspended without mercy,” said one parishioner. Over 200 people are members of a Facebook page set up in Father Vlaar’s defense.


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  • Posted by: jmoore20082145 - Jul. 20, 2010 6:52 AM ET USA

    It's not really surprising, considering the state of the Church in the Netherlands. What is surprising to me is that there is a bishop who stands up for principle and I hope that he sticks to his guns.

  • Posted by: ColmCille - Jul. 19, 2010 8:50 PM ET USA

    Liturgical misdemeanors are when minor liturgical norms are violated out of ignorance or necessity. Any time that any norm is violated intentionally and from a lack of reverence, it is a felony in my book. I hope the bishop sticks to his guns. Let them throw their tantrum, and assign a good, patient priest who might be able to catechize them. Parents must do what's best for their children even if they scream and cry and throw tizzies.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 19, 2010 8:10 PM ET USA

    Atleast he didn't, while raising the Host, say "Gooooooooal!"

  • Posted by: - Jul. 19, 2010 7:41 PM ET USA

    Contemporary congregations at Mass have been compared to attendees at a baseball game. They come dressed in ultra-casual, plop down in a seat, start reading the bulletin/program, stand up occasionally, sing badly, get in line for food, and leave early. Priests come from congregations and reflect their mindless enthusiasms. It had to come to this.

  • Posted by: stpetric - Jul. 19, 2010 5:22 PM ET USA

    The orange vestments, while tasteless and uncalled-for, seem to me essentially a liturgical misdemeanor. But I'm having a hard time coming up with any rationale for kicking and fielding a ball during Mass. Perhaps it was part of some misguided attempt at a "relevant" homily?

  • Posted by: Gil125 - Jul. 19, 2010 2:59 PM ET USA

    Here are some parishoners sorely in need of catechesis. Considering who their pastor is, unsurprisingly.

  • Posted by: Defender - Jul. 19, 2010 2:37 PM ET USA

    Makes one wonder, doesn't it? Kicking a ball down the aisle of a church and there are that many supporters? At least in California, many of the parishioners are dressed for the pool or just "hanging out" but I'm afraid if they hear what went on in the Netherlands, they might try it here, too (to the accompanyment of the drums and get-down music during Mass, of course).

  • Posted by: sparch - Jul. 19, 2010 10:16 AM ET USA

    Let's just say that Fr. Vlaar got a red card for unbecoming conduct on the field.