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Tuesday, January 18, 2005

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St Peter's Church, Rome

Far worse devastation than even the Reformation- Catholic Church in Nijmegen

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Cathcon thanks a good Catholic from the Netherlands for the text of this post. May God in his mercy deliver us!

Between 1973 and 2002, according to the Building Offices of the Dutch dioceses, 240 Catholic churches were closed down. Some of them were demolished, others sold to project developers, shopkeepers, building societies, businessmen and so on.

The Catholic Church at the Rozengracht in Amsterdam has been converted into a mosque. A Catholic Church in Den Bosch became a restaurant and party centre. Many Churches were converted into appartment buildings.

The Parish Church of Our Lady of the Rosary and St. Dominicus in Haarlem (also known as Spaarnekerk) was demolished, its spire was bought by the owner of a fish and chips shop to use it as the roof of his shop. (To be seen in the part of town called Schalkwijk and if you just can't believe that a Church official would do this –see the picture here). Its beautiful wood carved pulpit went to a antique and curiosity shop; there the pulpit was broken up and sold per panel. The Way of the Cross, beautifully painted on copper plates was sold to an old iron salesman, who melted it down for the copper.

Nijmegen, town without churches and monasteries.
The Church on the Krayenhofflaan in Nijmegen has been converted into a furniture showroom, the devotionalia of this church were sold at a junk market and much went for rubbish collection. (no picture found)

The High Altar, the pews and the statues of saints disappeared from the Church of St. Joseph in Nijmegen. This has now become the Titus Brandsma Memorial Church and pictures can be seen of the Church on this website. A great Carmelite saint but no excuse.

In the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes (and scroll down) the tabernacle is no longer the centre of the Church, but was literally 'put aside'.

In his book Monasteries in North Brabant in Peril (2003) J.W. Heijsteeg tells us that well over 200 monasteries from the 274 of North Brabant are closed and abandoned today. Almost all seminaries were closed and demolished. This book is in Dutch.

The Monastery of the Congregation of Dominican Sisters of the Most Holy Sacrament in Nijmegen was abandoned last year. The monastery is a hospice now. The Chapel and Altar, beautifully decorated by the well known artist, Jan Toorop was part of this building. The new owner said he thought the Chapel still "too catholic". The great library and the collection of relics and devotionalia was sold to a second hand shop. Correspondence, photos, utensils, books, missals: it all was thrown in trash containers and transported off to a garbage dump.

The former Monastery of Piushove, owned by the Congregation of the Little Sisters of St. Joseph of Heerlen was bought in September 2002 by the building society, Talis and the home care institution Habicura. The monastery will be made fit for 32 Alzheimer patients.

The Monastery of Marienbosch (built 1925) at the Groesbeekseweg in Nijmegen was closed last year, inclusive the chapel, complete with interior, pews, statues and so on. This monastery offers room for some 200 Polish workers at present. A property developer stands ready to transform this building into luxury appartments.

The impressive and huge complex of the Nebo Redemptorist Monastery was also sold to a building society a few weeks ago. Some old fathers still live in the South Wing. The North Wing is in use at present by the Hogeschool (Academy) Arnhem-Nijmegen. In 2007, the alterations will begin to rebuild the property into about 90 luxury appartments. The church will remain, although considerable smaller than it is now.

The monastery of St. Vincentius at the Dominicanenstraat has been owned since 1998 by the International Centre of Women and the Buddhist Jewel Heart. There are plans to demolish this huge monastery complex.

The Mansion Maria-Louise at the Eversweg 4 in Nijmegen (a classified monument) was the monastery of the Sisters and Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart. Late in 2003, this was offered for sale, inclusive garage and tea dome (!) and Chapel. Fate presently unknown.

The living quarters of the Jesuit Canisius College (scroll down, a small photo also here) of the Berg en Dalseweg, Nijmegen is for sale via a real estate broker. He asks 825,000 euro for the house.

The Assumptionist Monastery at the Louisaweg (Het Heidehuis - The Heather House) is abandoned by the fathers. The library of 40,000 books went for one part to the Instute of Eastern Christianity and for another part to the junk market in Gemert where the books were sold for a price per kilo (like potatoes). The location itself is now a youth reform institution which seems to have connections with the Marists.

The Monastery of Brakkestein, and also here inclusive of the Parish Church, of the Fathers of the Congregation of the Most Holy Sacrament will be demolished and replaced by a number of smaller buildings. Their library ended up on a junk market

Part of the library of the Passionists Monastery of Mater Dolorossa in Mook (about 20 banana boxes full) was sold to a second hand book shop. Most of the library was transported to the garbage dump. It was in this Monastery that the Passionist martyr bishop, Blessed Eugene Bossilikov studied.

Many more pictures of Nijmegen Churches can be found here. Another excellent site is here. If you go through the individual pictures "afgebroken" means demolished.

And this is just one town in the Netherlands. In parish after parish, monastery after monastery and town after town, the same was repeated over and over again.

Churches demolished and no more Catholic education
The vicious circle at its most vicious

In September 2004, the Katholieke Universiteit Nijmegen skipped the name 'Catholic' and changed the name into Radboud University. There was no resistance from the part of the clergy (Cardinal Simonis of Utrecht is Chancellor of this university, however. Not even a Cardinal can now be relied on to defend the catholicity of a university).

Some two or three years ago the same happened to the Katholieke Universiteit Brabant at Tilburg. They altered their name into Tilburg University, also without any resistance from the part of the diocesan clergy.

Anyone who tries to tell you how wonderful the years after the Second Vatican Council have been for the Church, get them to read this article. The Council was meant to be a pastoral rather than a dogmatic Council. Something has gone horribly wrong.
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Today is the Feast of the Chair of St Peter