Source: FSSPX News


Belgium: Denial on the subject of a religious service for homosexuals

 Mgr. Jozef De Kesel, auxiliary bishop of Malines-Brussels, denies having given any support whatsoever to the service which took place at the Church of Notre Dame du Bon Secours in Brussels, at the start of the 10th Belgian Lesbian and Gay Pride demonstration, on May 7.

 This information appeared in DICI n° 115, following a news item from the agency CathoBel, which has since made the necessary correction.


 Holland: Towards Vatican III? 

 Mgr. Martinus Muskens, bishop of Breda has once again declared himself in favor of the priestly ordination of married men, during a television broadcast on Saturday August 27: “There are so many married men who have received a good education, who are well-trained and faithful to the Church, that they ought to be able to be ordained.” The wishes of the bishop of Breda went as far as calling for a Vatican Council III in order to examine these questions. He proposes furthermore that the pope be elected for a limited time – between ten and fifteen years – and not for life.

 These are not his first proposals for reforms of the Roman Catholic Church. He has already demanded an age limit of 85 for popes, in a previous broadcast on Dutch television. Mgr. Muskens has been an activist in favor of those on the fringes of society, the homeless and drug addicts. In 1998, dressed as a tramp, he spent a day on the streets, looking for food and sleeping under bridges in order to experience, at first hand, the life of the homeless.


 Switzerland: Celebration Mass for 7,600 altar servers

 On Sunday September 4, from 10am. to 5pm., 7,600 Swiss altar servers – boys and girls – met in Lucerne in the SwissLifeArena, the cantonal school and the Church of St. Antoine. It was the third “Minifest” organized by the Swiss German working group for the pastoral care of altar servers.

During the day, the children split up into groups, and took part in various workshops where they were able to ride a camel, learn the rudiments of Hebrew, extinguish a fire and talk with monks and nuns, as well as the head of the Pontifical Swiss Guard. They were able to admire the sculpture of the biggest altar server sculpted in ice by the artist Toni Steininger, to watch a mini fashion show and meet a surprise guest, the four-times world snow board champion Ursula Bruhin.

 They attended a celebration Mass, concelebrated by Mgr. Amédée Grab, the bishop of Chur, and president of the Conference of Swiss Bishops, and Mgr. Martin Gächter, auxiliary bishop of Basel on the school soccer field. During the Mass, Ursula Bruhin encouraged the servers to develop their talents and have more confidence in God. She said that her faith had helped her to get herself out of difficult situations. The cost of the day was estimated at 250,000 Swiss francs, and was paid for in great part by participants’ contributions

 Switzerland can count around 30,000 altar servers aged between 9 and 25 years, and has been allowing girl altar servers since 1994.


 Germany: Diocese of Aix-la-Chapelle in grave financial difficulty

 On Sunday September 4, Mgr. Heinrich Mussinghoff, bishop of Aix-la-Chapelle, celebrated the 75th anniversary of his diocese, which finds itself in a deep financial crisis. Created in 1930, the diocese of Aix-la-Chapelle numbers 1.2 million Catholics. The working deficit to date stands at 60 million euros. The suppression of 190 jobs and the firing of 24 employees will be followed by other measures in an effort to balance the books by the year 2008.

 “In our community, we want to form living examples of the faith, people who live the Gospel joyfully and with conviction, and who transmit and propose it to others,” declared the bishop. The Vicar General Manfred von Holtum anticipated a substantial drop in revenue caused by the fall in the number of faithful. In fact, in Germany the revenue of the Church comes from the “worship” tax, which the faithful declaring themselves Catholic on the tax forms, have to pay.


 Germany: Protestants reassured after meeting with the pope

In Cologne on August 19, Benedict XVI addressed Protestant leaders. On the occasion, Wolfgang Huber, the president of the Evangelical Church in Germany presented the issues which he considered priorities: ecclesiology, women ministers and the conception of the Apostolic Succession.

 “According to our conviction, the unity of Christians subsists in the Catholic Church without the possibility of being lost; the Church indeed has not totally disappeared from the world. This unity does not mean what could be called the ecumenism of return: in other words to deny and refuse one’s own history of faith. Absolutely not! This does not mean uniformity of all the expressions of theology and spirituality, in liturgical forms and discipline . Unity in multiplicity and multiplicity in unity (…),” the pope declared. (See the complete text of this speech by Benedict XVI in our Documents section)

“We feel reassured,” said Nikolaus Schneider, president of the Protestant Church of the Rhineland. “When Benedict XVI speaks of unity in multiplicity and multiplicity in unity, it is very encouraging for us and allows us subscribe to such declarations.


 Great Britain: Christianity makes way for Islam

According to a survey carried out by the Christian Research Association, Great Britain is registering an inexorable decline of Christianity, in the face of the inevitable progression of mosques, which will have twice as many faithful than churches by 2040.

 During this period, the proportion of Britons declaring themselves Christian in official censuses is forecast to fall from 72% to 35%. The faithful who belong to a parish today represents 9.4% of the population, and they will number no more than 5% in 35 years.


 France: Miraculous Medal celebrates 175th anniversary

 On September 8, 2005, the chapel of the Community of the Daughters of Charity – renamed the Chapel of the Miraculous Medal since the Virgin Mary gave the model of the medal, in 1830, to Sr. Catherine Labouré – celebrated 175 years of the Marian apparitions.

 The chapel in the rue du Bac in Paris, which has become a place of pilgrimage, receives between five and six thousand faithful every day from all over the world, and around five million medals per year are distributed there. “Unfortunately, the Parisians do not realize that their city is the equivalent of Lourdes,” said Fr. Bernard Ponsard, the chaplain. “For a long time these apparitions have been known as those “of the rue du Bac,” but there are also those of Paris. They make this town a Marian city. This happened very close to us, in 1830. If Mary chose to appear here, there was a reason for it.”


 Beijing: Episcopal nominations with the agreement of the Holy See

 On July 29, 2005, the Catholic agency Asia News reported that Anthony Dang Mingyan, aged 38, a Chinese priest of the Patriotic Church, had been consecrated auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese of Xian, with the approval of the Vatican. It was also announced that Joseph Xing Wenshi, another Chinese priest of the Patriotic Church was consecrated auxiliary bishop of Shanghai on June 28 2005, and that he stated publicly that the pope had recognized his nomination.

 This means that he had “the courage” to ask for the approval of the pope and “to publicly proclaim it,” it was said in Rome. There are “dozens of cases which are made public” and “the vast majority” of the bishops of the official Church are recognized by the Holy See.

 The nomination of a bishop in China is made by an assembly of representatives of the “official Church” – the Patriotic Association – made up of priests, religious and laity of a diocese who put forward several names to the Chinese Communist Party so that the Bishops’ Conference of the official Church can appoint the new bishop.