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My ma was very religious and made us go to church every Sunday afternoon which was called "LOF" which meant something like "HONOR".
One Sunday afternoon when I was far away from home in a foreign place, we saw what we thought was a Catholic church. I said to Bart: "Let's go to lof". Soon as we got inside, we got a big surprise. Yes, some hundred years ago it had been RC but was taken over during the reformation. Well now we were inside we better find out what they believed in.
It was not too exciting. We had to look in a small bible, the minister would talk, or explain what we were looking at. Then he would shift to some prayers and more readings. Finally he would give his sermon.
During all this, I was watching him at first, but then my attention focused on the participants. I kept soaking up what I was looking at. My, oh my, what a diversity of expressions I read in their behavior.
A few were listening to what was said, others seemed to be far, far away in their mind, did not realize that the minister was vying for their attention. Others seemed to be very content with their surroundings, and felt like it was a good time and place to have a nap, and let the world take care of itself.
When the sermon was over, they came around for the collection. For that, they had a long handle with a sack on the end, held open with a good size ring. They started with the front pews and kind of demanded you drop your offerings in here. That did not look good to Bart or me, we did not have any money.
When they came to Bart, he looked at the fellow, opened his hands and shrugged his shoulders. The fellow would not accept that so he kept on shaking this bag in front of Bart. It sure became embarrassing. Finally he was convinced that nothing was forthcoming so he put the bag in front of me. By this time I was prepared. I put my closed hand deep in the bag like I was depositing a real treasure and came out with an open hand. He moved on to the next person who did what I did. I still wonder why the next fellow did this.
● Roman Catholicism in the Netherlands from Wikipedia.
● Roman Catholicism in the Netherlands from Wikipedia. "The Catholic Church in the Netherlands; Dutch: rooms-katholiek kerkgenootschap in Nederland (RKK), is part of the worldwide Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope and curia in Rome. Although the number of Catholics in the Netherlands has decreased significantly in recent decades, the Dutch Catholic Church is today the largest religious group in the Netherlands. Once known as a Protestant country, in 2007 Protestants made up only 16.8 percent of the Dutch population, considerably less than the 26 percent of Dutch catholics in 2007. There are an estimated 4.267 million Catholics (31 December 2008) in the Netherlands, 25.9 percent of the population down from more than 40 percent in 1970's. The number of Catholics in the Netherlands continues to decrease, roughly by half a percent annually."
● Netherlands De-Baptism in Roman Catholic Church -- Mass exodus after scandals. Saturday, February 05, 2011. "Radio Netherlands: Last year some 23,000 Dutch abandoned the Roman Catholic Church because of the scandals over sexual abuse. In Germany and Austria, there were 123,000 and 80,000. The number of cancellations in Germany has direct impact on the income of the church. In the Netherlands, continues to damage to reputation. The Dutch figures are published by Kaski, the expertise of Religion and Society, Radboud University Nijmegen. Especially young people between twenty and forty years leave the church. Compared to 2009 is about one fourth more exits. Kaski expects more cancellations because not all parishes by the figures indicate."
● The above is a translation from the Dutch:
"NEDERLAND - Radio Nederland - 4 feb 2011
Zo'n 23.000 Nederlanders hebben vorig jaar de rooms-katholieke kerk verlaten als gevolg van de schandalen over seksueel misbruik. In Duitsland en Oostenrijk waren dat er 123.000 en 80.000. Het aantal afmeldingen heeft in Duitsland direct gevolg voor de inkomsten van de kerk. In Nederland blijft het bij imagoschade.
De Nederlandse cijfers zijn bekendgemaakt door Kaski, het expertisecentrum religie en samenleving van de Radboud Universiteit in Nijmegen. Vooral jonge mensen tussen de twintig en veertig jaar verlaten de kerk. In vergelijking met 2009 gaat het om een kwart meer uitschrijvingen. Kaski verwacht nog meer afmeldingen omdat niet alle parochies de cijfers doorgeven."