The Catholic Church in the Netherlands has entered such an unstoppable spiral, according to research by the Trouw newspaper, that eight out of ten parishes are in the red and will have to be closed.
From 1970 to 2008, 400 Catholic churches were demolished or converted. Since then, the rate has accelerated dramatically. Two churches, on average, close every week. One fifth of all the churches in Holland have already been converted.
Holland still has six thousand churches. Up to 80 percent of these will lose their religious function in the coming years. There is a shortage of money and faithful and demolition is looming.
Also sold was the Cathedral of St. Catherine in Utrecht, bought by the adjacent museum of religious art. Since 1853 all the priests of Holland were consecrated in that cathedral.
Fifty years ago there were 2.7 million "active" Catholics in the Netherlands. In 2016 there were 173,000. By 2030, there will be just over 63,000.
Between 1970 and 1985, Dutch Catholics fell by 70 percent. In Eindhoven, a church has been converted into a children's meeting place. Others are gyms, swimming pools and furniture stores. The Dominican monastery of Nijmegen was abandoned and is now a hospice.
Cardinal Wim Eijk himself explained to the newspaper De Gelderlander that Christianity in Holland is nearing its end. Within ten years, he said, within the archdiocese of Utrecht, the largest and in theory the most active in the whole of Holland, only 15 of the current 280 churches will continue to celebrate mass. One fifth of all Dutch churches have already been converted to other uses. And a Trouw study shows that 25 churches have been converted into mosques.
The "dead churches", as they are called, can also be viewed and purchased on the Internet, on portals such as www.redres.nl and www.replican.nl. The church of St. Jacobus, one of the largest and oldest in the city of Utrecht, where the parishes have already increased from 316 to 49, has been transformed into a luxury residence by architect firm Zecc, a group specializing in the conversion of churches into fine buildings in Bauhaus style. In Overijssel alone, at least 20 churches will close between now and 2025.
A group of local residents is opposing the planned demolition of the Theresia Catholic Church in The Hague. According to real estate consultant Colliers International, another 1,700 churches will lose their function by 2030.
In the Dutch province of Friesland, 250 of the 720 existing churches have been transformed or closed. Amsterdam's Fatih Camii Mosque was once the Church of St. Ignatius.
A synagogue in The Hague has been converted into the Al Aqsa mosque.
From Holland now we must move to Cyprus to understand the disappearance of a world.
“Only a few times a year Ninos Josephides, a Greek Cypriot, can visit his native village in the Turkish-occupied part of divided Cyprus. But he can't visit his house. It was destroyed a long time ago ”.
This opens a report by France Presse. Following Pope Francis' visit to Cyprus, the Maronite was granted a visit to the city he had to flee from 47 years ago. "My house was here, opposite the church. They were demolished. There were many houses here." The authorities of the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus allow Maronites to visit Agia Marina just five times a year, during religious holidays Maria Partella Stefani, 71, says: "My house (in Asomatos) was built three months before the invasion ... now it is occupied by the army commander," she said.
In the 8th century 80,000 Maronites lived in 60 villages in Cyprus, today there are 7,000 left. Says Bartelis Hajji Faisal, mayor of Agia Marina who now lives in the south, "if nothing changes, they will disappear completely".
The history of these minorities concerns us. The risk is for us to become a minority like them in the heart of Old Europe. Pieter Donner, a Christian-Democrat jurist and Dutch minister said this with far too much intellectual honesty: “Islamic groups have the right to come to power through the democratic way. If two thirds of the Dutch wanted to introduce Sharia law, this possibility should be granted. The majority counts, this is democracy ”.
Is there a more meaningful image to indicate the current fin de civilization?
Giulio Meotti is an Italian journalist with Il Foglio and writes a twice-weekly column for Arutz Sheva. He is the author, in English, of the book "A New Shoah", that researched the personal stories of Israel's terror victims, published by Encounter and of "J'Accuse: the Vatican Against Israel" published by Mantua Books, in addition to books in Italian. His writing has appeared in publications, such as the Wall Street Journal, Gatestone, Frontpage and Commentar