Holland: bleak future for Catholic Church

Holland: bleak future for Catholic Church

Dutch bishops visiting Rome this week have given Pope Francis grim tidings about the Church’s future in the Netherlands.

The bishops, according to this report, told the Pope in Rome that about two-thirds of all Roman Catholic churches in Holland would have to be shut or sold by 2025, and many parishes merged, because congregations and finances were:

In a long-term shrinking process.

Both Catholic and Protestant Christian ranks have shrunk dramatically across Europe in recent decades, and hundreds of churches have been sold off to be turned into apartments, shops, bars or warehouses.

In the Netherlands, churches have been closing at a rate of one or two a week.

Their five-yearly report blamed a “drastic secularisation” of society, although a critical group of Dutch lay Catholics said the scandal of sexual abuse of minors by priests, which has afflicted many Catholic dioceses around the world, had also driven many people away, as had the closures themselves.

The only bright spot for the Dutch church was the finding that the election of the popular Pope Francis in March appeared to have slowed the exodus this year.

Cardinal Willem Eijk, above, head of the Dutch bishops’ conference, said that the bishops’ 90-minute meeting with the Pope had examined the Dutch Church’s decline and the effects of the scandals that first came to light in 2010. Tens of thousands of children were abused by priests over decades, according to an independent inquiry, and the Church has apologised and begun paying large sums in damages.

More than 23,000 Catholics quit the Dutch Church in 2010, the peak of an exodus in which an average 18,000 have left each year since 2006. This year, however, only about 7,500 had left by October.

Catholicism is still the Netherlands’ largest faith, officially claiming 24 percent of the 16 million population. Next come the Protestant churches at 18 percent and Islam at 5 percent.

But Eijk told Vatican Radio that government estimates put the Catholic total at 16 percent, falling to 10 percent by 2020. And the bishops’ report said a mere 5.6 percent of those declared as Catholics actually went to church regularly.


16 responses to “Holland: bleak future for Catholic Church”

  1. Broga says:

    The problem for Frankie, and which he dare not address, is that what he and his priests preach just ain’t true. It is worse than that: it isn’t credible. He cannot deal with this because talking snakes, virgin births, a man rising from the dead, walking on water and the many similar claims cannot bear scrutiny.

    Frankie knows this, his bishops know it and his priests know it. With that knowledge they can only survive if they behave as if the nonsense they preach were true. And that depends on large numbers of semi literates who accept what they are told.

    And that before we even get to priestly paedophilia.

  2. A Confused Atheist says:

    The reason why the Catholic Church’s future in the Netherlands is so bleak is due to the fact that religion is beginning to be exposed as a complete myth throughout Western Europe, plus the fact that people are growing more and more angry at them for condoning and covering up all these child abuse cases.

    I hope the Catholic Church becomes extinct in my lifetime.

  3. barriejohn says:

    Frankie has denounced “extremists” for “perverting” religious belief:

    Obviously, if you click your heels together three times and wish very hard then the nasty bits of your religious books disappear completely!

  4. Barry Duke says:

    My apologies. This post has whiskers on it, having been first reported last December. I hadn’t noticed the date on the original story until BarrieJohn pointed it out. Interesting nonetheless.

  5. jay says:

    They could always sell them and have them repurposed as mosques. Those guys seem to be on a roll.

  6. The Vicar says:


    Yeah, Islam is on a roll. It comes with lettuce and mayo, just like every other kind of bologna.

  7. Ex Patriot says:

    This is very good news on a Monday morning, hope it keeps up. I have lived in Europe for the last 15 years and the friends I have made here have no time for the church and this is supposed to b a kat lick country.

  8. Brian Jordan says:

    The Church of England has the solution to the “problem”: church schools. The Executive Summary of its 2012 report “The church school of the future” begins:
    “The Church of England clearly reaffirms that Church schools stand at the centre of its mission. It educates approximately 1 million of the nation’s children in primary and secondary schools, which enables more direct engagement with children and their families than any other contact, including regular Sunday worship.”
    IIRC, an earlier report put it more directly: something like “today’s classroom is tomorrow’s congregation.” (I’d be glad if anyone could provide a direct quote and a link, please.)

  9. Rob Andrews says:

    The problem is that we secular/atheists arn’t taking up the crusaide( hate to use that word), against Islam. We of course have a tolerent and don’t care attitude about other people’s superstition. So it’s ok if muslims move into Europe.

    As an openly gay person I would be afraid to live in Europe today. We need to write to our representative in Congress and parlements all over Europe to stop the flow of Muslims into western Europe and the U.S.

    International Humasnist and Ethical Union

  10. Toto says:

    Any child raping imams we can expose?

  11. Paul Cook says:

    What good news!

  12. Robster says:

    “The election of the popular Pope Francis in March appeared to have slowed the exodus this year”. If pope Frank’s election has reduced the outflow, imaging how getting a young, spunky beefy pope would halt the slide even more. A popular and photogenic hunky pope would attract lots of nice ladies and lots of potential priests too. The Vatican could publish a calendar with a popely pose for all twelve months, sell zillions and afford all the compensation payouts for all the clergy child sex victims. I’m sure there are agencies that could solicit potential popes, give them a make over with a bit of that famous vatican bling and put them on display. People could call a “for toll” number to vote on the pope, making it easier for that gaggle of near deceased bishops they round up each time a new pope is needed and hasten the process and get some revenue at the same time. The catholic church needs a business manager.

  13. Norman Paterson says:

    Robster – Whatever you’re smoking, where can I get some? 🙂