As the novels of my Conciliar series often play out in the Netherlands, the article below is of interest for background information.
‘Great apostasy’: Cardinal analyzes why Netherlands lost Catholic faith in few short decades
Cardinal Willem Eijk’s new book ‘Ferment in the care of souls’ helps answer the question about why the Netherlands has become one of the most secularized countries in the world today.
September 25, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Why are the tiny Netherlands, whose missionaries represented over 12 percent of Roman Catholic priests and religious bringing the faith to foreign countries around 1960, today one of the most secularized countries in the world? Of all the questions addressed by Cardinal Willem Jacobus Eijk in his recent book of dialogues with Italian journalist Andrea Galli, this was the one that struck commentators most.
The Cardinal borrowed his answer from a book written in 1947 after a meeting of nine laymen and priests in his own diocese of Utrecht years before a major crisis hit Dutch Catholicism. In Ferment in the care of souls, these concerned Catholics, he said, “saw that the bond between Catholics and the Church was no longer based on the contents of the faith.”
“Membership in the Church was essentially a community factor: one went to Catholic primary school, then to Catholic secondary school, and was a member of Catholic associations, especially in the sports and scouting fields. One was Catholic for reasons of social belonging, because one grew up in Catholic structures, not on the basis of a lived faith,” Cardinal Eijk remarks. It was a faith that “could not withstand such radical culture changes as those of the 1960’s.”
That time of prosperity and growing individualism gradually led to the “hyper-individualism” that Cardinal Eijk has more than once pointed out as being at the root of modern-day Holland’s rejection of God – as in this interview with LifeSite in May 2019, many of whose themes are present in his new book, Dio viva in Olanda (“God lives in Holland”). Revealingly, the subtitle of his book is a quote from Saint Luke: “When the Son of man comes, will He find faith on earth?”