Rorate Caeli has a post today about the state of religious belief and practice in the Netherlands that makes sobering reading for Christians and indeed anyone who values religious belief and practice in society. It is acopy of an article in the Italian journal Il Foglio.
The fact of decline in religious life in the Netherlands is not news - it has been reported for many years now - but this article draws the story together, looking across the religious spectrum to present a depressing picture, and pointing to that fact that this is not a recent trend.
Cosidering the religious fervour and vitality of the country in past centuries it certainly invites not only sadness but questions as to what has created this climate of opinion - it is not just Vatican II (however important that may have been in this respect) before anyone comments to that effect.
I should add by way of some contrast that one priest friend recently visited the Netherlands and was pleasantly surprised by the life he did find in Catholic churches there.
The article, which is of considerable length, can be seen at The Church of Vatican II: The Netherlands Without Christ - a major article for Il Foglio