|PHOTO: REUTERS/MAX ROSSI|
Along with most European countries, Christian Church membership has fallen sharply in Holland with about two thirds of Catholic churches expected to be closed and sold off to be converted into apartments, shops, bars or warehouses, as Catholic Bishops told Pope Francis last November. Although officially blamed on 'drastic secularization' of society the Pope was left in no doubt that the world-wide sexual abuse of minors by predatory paedophile priests was a major cause of this haemorrhage of members and drastic decline in church attendance.
The Catholic Church claims to have 24 percent of the Dutch as members but government figures put it at only 16 percent and expected to fall to 10 percent by 2020. Protestantism is estimated at 18 percent and Islam at 5 percent. As the Bishop's report to the Pope admitted however, only 5.6% of those 'official' Catholics actually attend church regularly and the church has lost an average of 18,000 members every year since 2006, reaching a peak of 23,000 in 2010 when it was revealed that tens of thousands of under-age children had been sexually abused by paedophile priests over several decades. The population of Holland is 16.8 million (2014).
The one piece of good news for Pope Francis was that this loss of members had fallen to only 7,000 in the year following him replacing the deeply unpopular former Nazi, Pope Benedict XVI, who is widely believed to have been Pope John-Paul II's official enforcer charged with keeping the abuse scandals under wraps and ensuring a policy of minimal cooperation with secular authorities investigating the claims of victims.
But as Ad de Groot, a lay Catholic leader Utrecht explained, it is now the closure of these redundant churches itself which is alienating lay Catholics. His group told the Vatican that closure alone is expected to cause 50% of the present Catholic membership to leave the church in coming years - which will inevitably lead to more closures, more alienation and more loss of membership and attendance as the church spirals down into decreasing relevance in an increasingly secular Europe.
The cat is now well and truly out of the bag and people can see why many priests went into the church in the first place and how the church leadership saw it as not a problem for those it abused, or something to make parents of children aware of, or even a reason to take predatory priests and nuns out of situations where they were able to abuse children, but a problem for the church to keep out of the public domain by any means available to it incase it harmed their power and privileges.
At this rate of decline, in Holland, Germany, Ireland and France, and throughout most of Europe, the Catholic Church in Europe should be consigned to the midden-tip of history, along with its corrupt and predatory clergy, by the middle of this century, and not before time. Notwithstanding that there are very many decent priests and nuns doing great work amongst the poor and the sick in deprived areas of the world, an organization which has always been predatory and parasitic on society, hoovering up wealth from the poor and casually abusing its power and privileges, and which effectively functioned as a secretive paedophile ring for decades if not centuries, has no place in a civilised society which treats all its members with the respect and dignity due to them as human being.
'via Blog this'