Crossing the distance

Crossing the distance: the church of St. Willibrordus in Utrecht and the cathedral of Our Lady Assumption in Jakarta. How the neo-Gothic style forms a link between the Netherlands and Indonesia


The author states that the visual language of the Catholic mission in the period 1822-1914 might be seen as a form of non-violent struggle to win the souls of the ‘infidels’ in the former European colonies. In 1822 an association for the mission, the first of its kind, was created in Lyon, however with the outbreak of World War One the character of the mission would change radically. The ideology of ultramontanism and the mission were inextricably linked and will also be looked at by the author in modern times. In the period covered in this paper, the neo-Gothic style, as it manifested itself in the architecture of churches, chapels, monuments and other buildings, as well as in their decoration and iconographic program, persisted practically until the end of the twentieth century. Catholic mission followed the colonization by the motherlands very closely, but was always controlled by Rome. The network of ultramontanist priests and laymen and their system of patronage closely resembles medieval structures and feudal traditions, but made on the other hand intensive use of modern techniques for example in the construction of buildings, communications and transport. But foremost in controlling masses of people, through conversion, education and healthcare as tools for (re) Christianization in Europe and overseas. This theme is elaborated here by example of two neo-Gothic churches: one in the Netherlands and the other in the former Dutch Indies, now Indonesia.


The analysis of Michel Foucault of power as a network, in which individuals are confined and become product of the system, was succeeded by the field research and theoretical investigation for this chapter, which intends to present the subject in a descriptive way. (Foucault 1995) Power is regarded as an embodied phenomenon in society, and therefore revolutions seem to lack the power to change social orders on the long term. (Foucault 1995) In the context of this essay, the Catholic church is defined as a power in this Foucauldian sense, and is therefore considered as an European system, which articulates the ‘otherness’ of the rest of the world. (Foucault 1970)The church enforces the hierarchical distance between Western Europe and other civilizations by accentuating the difference between the ‘Christian’ and the ‘Pagan’, between the ‘Believer’ and the ‘Unbeliever’’. The church as a government, controls the social and organic processes of the believers and converts using techniques transferred from the ideological exterior to individual’s interior. This, by applying a number of punitive measures and self-controlling mechanisms. (Foucault 1997; Odrowaz-Coates 2017)

Bruno Latour, in his so- called Actor-Network-Theory, pointed out new ideas on social networks in relations to the arts. He states that networks created round artists are crucial for the appreciation of art in all its facets, and that works of art, or even artists, do not exist outside these networks. Such a network is however not only shaped by humans, but may also consist of objects, writings, ideas, religions and ideologies, and most of all agreements. In this essay the ultramontanist movement, including the mission, is considered to be an ‘actant’ in terms of Latour. (Latour 2005)

In addition to the theory of Latour, the view of Benedict Anderson that religion can be interpreted as a form of nationalism without borders, was also applied here. Ultramontanism, the ‘fundamentalist’ movement in the Catholic church can be seen as such. (Anderson 2006)

In the course of the nineteenth century, the emergence of a ‘culture industry’, as described by Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer, in which cultural goods are traded as industrial products and commodities on the market could be stressed in this research. As stated by these authors in the formation of the masses, culture vanishes, because people are sensitive to manipulation, as was the case in nineteenth and early twentieth century Catholicism with their specific language of images appealing to emotions. (Adorno/Horkheimer 1981)

To give a strict definition of ultramontanism, in fact a form of fundamentalism, is not without difficulties, because in the past two centuries this paradigm manifested itself in a variety of ways and degrees of intensity, under different formulas. But in the period covered here, it may be described as a very powerful drive of the Catholic church to expand its territory by means of spreading the Gospel, with strong emphasis on the supremacy of the Pope in spiritual and secular matters.

On forehand is should be noted that in the period covered here, the economic situation in Western-Europe was by times abominable, especially the agricultural crisis, caused by a severe potato-disease was destructive in the years 1845-1854. It caused the last official famine in Europe. (Segers 2004) These were also the years of spreading diseases which contaminated people and cattle and extreme weather conditions.  (Thoen et al 2015)

The foremost of the crises has been the economic crisis of 1873-1896, known as ‘the Great Deflation’ or ‘Long Depression’, shortly erupted after the Franco-Prussian war of 1871, with the defeat of France. It was the cause of great poverty among the working class in the industrialized countries, and can be regarded as an announcement of economic developments to come. (Fisch 2002)

Modern mission in the Netherlands

In 2016 the church of St. Willibrordus in Utrecht became the seat of the ‘Pius X Association’, which officially is known as the ‘Fraternitas Sacerdotalis Sancti Pii X’(SSPX or FSSPX). With the eponym of this company, Pius X (1835-1914, pope from 1903), we encounter a traditionalistic pope who played an important role in ultramontanim and therefore in the Catholic mission.

The reasons for this church in particular to be chosen as official seat was not made at random, the Netherlands being appointed an official mission district by the Vatican for more than ten years now. The city of Utrecht is the capital of the Catholic province of the Netherlands and the church of St. Willibrordus, named after the first missionary in the Low Countries St. Willibrord (658-739), was already for decennia the centre by excellence of traditionalist Catholics. The association was founded on November 1, 1970 by the conservative archbishop Marcel Lefebvre (1905-1991). This act could be regarded as the rejection of the proclamations of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), by very conservative and traditionalist Catholics. The ordination of four bishops, on his own authority, by Lefebvre in 1988 caused his excommunication. Nevertheless pope John Paul II (1920-2005, pope since 1978) wished to secure ways to communicate with the expelled and wrote his personal letter ‘Ecclesia Dei’ in 1988. A side effect was that the ‘Tridentine mass’(celebrating mass under the guidelines of the Council of Trent (1545-1563) by Pius V (1504-1572, elected pope in 1566) could be tolerated in exceptional situations.

The Pius X Association was given permission in 2009, ‘the year of fraternity’ by pope Benedict XVI (1927, pope in the years 2005-2013) to give the sacrament of confession in urgent circumstances, a right that later in the same year was consented a permanent status. An indication that the fundamentalist movement in the church was tolerated by the Vatican.

The St. Willibrordus in Utrecht

The neo-Gothic of St. Willibrordus (erected in 1877) was built by the architect Alfred Tepe (1840-1920) while the interior was largely provided for by the atelier for ecclesiastical art of the Mengelberg-family. Founding-father Wilhelm Mengelberg (1837-1919) and his eldest son Otto (1867-1924) were the directors of this atelier in Utrecht. Younger brethren of Wilhelm directed the studio in Germany (Cologne and later Brühl).

Tepe, Mengelberg and some other Dutch as well as German colleagues, were members of the Utrecht ‘Guild of St. Bernulphus’. It was founded in 1869, after consultation with the cardinal, by a clergyman following the example of the Belgian ‘Gilde de St. Thomas et St. Luc’. The construction, decoration and iconographic program was supervised by the pastor Henricus Jacobus Stiphout (1828-1887). This church, exemplary for the position of the Catholic church in the Netherlands, was inconspicuously hidden among the secular buildings in the same streets. The Catholic church in the Netherlands was bestowed an official status as late as 1853. In the previous period the Low Countries were official the territory of ‘Apostolic Vicars’ or ‘mission bishops’.

The church of St. Willibordus functioned for decades as a safe haven for conservative Catholics, organised in the ‘Willibrordus society’. They could follow the old- styled Latin mass for years under the leadership of the traditionalist priest Winand Kotte (1922-2007).

The Willibrordus was conceived as a ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’, build in a neo-Gothic style, characteristic for many Catholic churches, chapels and monuments in Europe, Canada, the United States and former European colonies. The decoration and iconographic program was dedicated to the spreading of the Gospel and the Eucharist, the changing of bread and wine in the body and blood of Christ, the most important moment in celebrating Catholic mass.

Papal authority and the mission

Pius X (1835-1914, pope elected in 1903) followed the convictions of one of his predecessors, the equally conservative Pius IX (1792-1878, pope since 1846). Pius X had a strong dislike of modernist views and in this he showed himself a zealous follower of ‘Pio Nono’, who, as a result of political and social conditions in Italy, reached the status of a saint during his lifetime as ‘prisoner of the Vatican’. He managed to initiate a Catholic rebellion which manifested itself internationally as a form of military ultramontanism.

The background of this struggle was the fact, that for the first time in history, the popes were deprived of their secular power over the city of Rome, the Papal States and territories; this in favour of the Kingdom in Italy, founded in 1861. This plight of the pope was an impetus to the Catholic emancipatory movement in Europe, whose ‘réveil’ had already reached a considerable status after the wars of 1813.

From 1822 onward the Catholic mission was an intrinsic part of this revival, and under Gregory XVI (1765-1846, elect pope in 1831) a kind of Papal Ministry was founded for mission matters. The (re) Christianization of the entire world, not in the least the conversion in Europe itself, became not only his motto, but also that of his successors. The First World War, however, brought an end to this form of mission, linked with the colonization by the newly formed nation states.

The close link between mission and colonization was officially discarded with the papal letter ‘Maximum illud’ (1919) approved by Benedict XV (1854-1922, pope since 1914). He stressed that Christianiazation should be brought further by the local clergy, who therefore had to be well educated by the missionaries. He was convinced that it was no longer appropriate to regard the mission area as an extension of the mother-country.

It should be remembered that the Catholic church contrives evangelization from as early as the sixth century, at the instigation of Gregor I (pope in the years 590-604). (Lantink e.a. 2012) Spreading the Gospel was organised by the Vatican via the ‘Congregation for the evangelization of peoples’,  the successor of the ‘Congregation de Propaganda fide’ from 1622.

Spreading the Word

A major theoretical foundation of the Evangelization in the nineteenth century was provided by Le Génie du Christianisme by François-René de Chateaubriand (1768-1848), published in 1802, but written in exile during the Revolution. The power of the Christian faith was, in his view, mainly located in the urge to evangelize and keeping alive the memory of the missionary past of her confessors who died often as martyrs. The earliest French initiatives for mission should be regarded as a continuation of the ideas and practices of old institutions such as those of the Jesuits. The first mission association was founded in Lyon in the years 1819-1822 by Pauline Marie Jaricot (1799-1862), daughter of a wealthy silk manufacturer, after having received a heavenly message ordering to do so.

She and her followers made a start with an organized form of world mission, which after the collapse of the old colonial powers, Spain and Portugal, was now taken over by the Roman church itself. Financing their goals by means of alms of believers, a construction they had copied from the organisational structure of English mission associations. In 1832 the French example was followed at its turn in Aachen by the doctor and politician Heinrich Hahn (1800-1882), who founded the ‘Verein zur Unterstützung der katholischen Franziskus-Xavier Missionen’. This association branched quickly over Germany with numerous sister associations. In the same period king Ludwig I of Bavaria (1786-1868, king from 1825-1848) founded a ‘Ludwigs Missionsverein’. (Weichlein 2005)

The first step to create a mission association was often taken by laymen, especially women, who had allegedly seen a vision, or received a calling. These organisations were generally speaking hierarchically and ministerial. Access to the membership was open to all ranks of society: contribution was affordable (a Kreuzer in Germany and a Sou in France) and was given in the form of alms. The obligation to pray was a very important feature: every day an ‘Our Father’ and a ‘Hail Mary’ with the addition ‘Saint Francis-Xavierus pray for us’. [i] Francis Xavier (1506-1553) was co-founder of the order of the Jesuits and a very successful missionary.

Salvation of the soul could also be earned in the form of indulgences with works and prayers for the mission. The mission association in Lyon, mentioned above, had in the years 1840 already extended to all European countries, and there were even new mission associations created especially for children. The enthusiastic and devotional character of these associations was contagious and intense.

In the second half of the century, after the revolution year 1848, organisations with missionary objectives were founded, such as the ‘Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary’(1865), whose members were also called ‘Scheutisten’, the ‘Mill Hill missionaries’ (1866), the ‘white fathers’ or ‘missionaries of Africa’(1868) and the ‘Congregation of the Divine Word’(1875). New lay mission associations were established, for example in Germany with the ‘Bonifatius-verein’ which contributed on a large scale to the world mission as a [ii]national movement. The motto was:

“Die Einheit eines Volkes ruht in der Einheit des Glaubens. Die Einheit des Glaubens gründet die Einheit der Völker. Die Einheit Deutschlands gründete die Kirche und ihr groBer Apostel Winfried (Bonifatius).“

In all European countries mission unions had aimed at the mobilization of Catholics, and formed the run-up to the ultramontanist appearance of ‘mass-Catholicism’ and ‘association-Catholicism’. A form which was developing at the end of the 19th century, and in the beginning of the next.

The triumphant Catholic church expanded its work in the former colonies by means of an ultramontanist network and a system of patronage that in design and method had much in common with the medieval and feudal systems, but in which the most advanced techniques of engineering, transport, construction and communication, and last but not least, control of the masses of people were applied.

‘Cartomanie’ and the spreading of the Word

An important medium by which the ideas in the mission areas and in Europe were distributed, were journals like the French magazine Les Missions Catholiques, published by ‘l’Association de la Propagation de la Foi’ in Lyon and strongly directed by the Vatican. It was the oldest and the most read journal and was issued until the outbreak of the Great War.

The first issue of the magazine appeared in 1872, on the 3th of May. A romantic image of the missionary as the hero was painted from the start: a devout Christian who left his home and went to the jungle to spread the word of God. Heroic were the brothers and sisters for sure, because the mortality among them of disease, malnutrition or violence was particularly high. (Willemsen 2006)

The first illustration in the magazine was of the neo-Gothic church Saint -Hubert in Manchuria. A ‘medieval’ monastery complex form which not only the faith was carried out, but where education and health care were also settled. In the whole series of this journal we find about 80 images of Catholic buildings, mainly in neo-Gothic style, with some elements form the vernacular style. The most favourite design in all mission areas was the variant on the Gothic style by the architect August Pugin (1812-1852) and further developed by the already mentioned ‘Gilde the St. Thomas et St. Luc’ and the ‘St. Luc schools’ in Belgium. A wonderful example is the tomb chapel for the Saint Francis Xavierus from Sangchuan in 1877. (Vints 2000)

Only in a single case, the name of the creator was mentioned, such as the Jesuit father Gonzalves in 1876 or his colleague Alphonse Tax, who built the church in Tanarive in Madagascar. The church of Si-inn-dze in Mongolia was created by Alphonse de Vos, a Scheutist. A highlight in this architecture was the cathedral of Pé-Tang in Beijing, built by the Lazarist Pierre Alphonse Favier (1837-1905) in 1888

A very sympathetic form of dissemination of knowledge and information on mission settlements was the so called ‘cartomanie’. Sending postcards with pictures of missions, missionaries and their surroundings was very popular. A clearer paternalistic and Eurocentric vision of the mission work is almost unimaginable and the neo-Gothic was the overall style in which it was shown.

Modern techniques and materials in the ‘planting of churches’

The mission work and colonization in Congo by Belgium as the motherland and the nationstate was especially of great magnitude and intensity. In this area, the ‘backyard’ of king Leopold II (1835-1909, king in 1865), the Scheutisten worked. They built the church of Boma around 1900. This church was constructed from wrought iron and ready in a record time. The prototype of this church was followed in the Spanish area by Fernando Poo on the Gulf of Guinea in Santa Isabel. The company that build the churches in such a short time was the Belgian firm ‘les Forges d’Aiseau’ with the use of the ‘Danly-system’, a way of pouring and processing concrete. The parts were manufactured in Western Europe and constructed on the place of destination. A first example of such a construction was in the former Belgian colony of Santo Tomas in Guatemala, established shortly after 1840 and manufactured by the metal works of Hornu. The church of Jamaica from the hand of architect father Thomson was manufactured in this way.

England was already mentioned as a model for the practical organization of the mission. In the former English colonies many churches and chapels were built and in the designs we see the influence of  the also already quoted Pugin and the ‘Cambridge Cambden Society’, an association founded in 1839 and changed its name in 1845 in ‘Ecclesiological Society’. The architect William Slater (1819-1872) published in the journal of the ‘Ecclesiological Society’ in 1857 about a ‘strange gothic iron church’ he had seen on his voyage in the North-West of the mainland of Europe.[iii] And the first iron church in Belgium was built in Argenteuil, near Waterloo, in 1854-1862 following the plans of Raymond Carlier. So these new ways of constructing in wrought iron and concrete were not limited to the colonies. (Vints 2000)

The already mentioned encyclic ‘Maximum illud’, ‘the Magna carta des missions modernes’ became the guidance for the construction and decoration style of churches under Pius XI, ‘le pape missionnaire’. [iv] His ideas were developed further in his encyclic ‘Rerum Ecclesiae’, published in 1926. The missionary ‘new style’ made its appearance and the neo-Gothic style slowly raged out as ecclesiastical, colonial style. After the Second World War we can read in a standard work on the practice of mission:

“Nos hautes flèches gothiques de Picardy seraient dépaysées parmi les palmeraies africaines. Ces choses-là ne démontrent pas, elles se sentent : il faut se plaindre les celui qui ne sent pas. »[v]

German mission in East Africa

From Germany missionaries were also driven to areas overseas, namely tot East Africa. They were as inspired as Hermann Fisher, missionary of the SVD from Steyl in 1906 who wrote: “Katholisch sein heiBt Missionseifer haben”. [vi]

An important figure in this German spread of faith was Anton II Fischer (1840-1912), from 1902 until his death archbishop of Cologne. He disrupted the policy of modernization under his direct predecessor Hubert Theophil Simar (1825-1902, archbishop from 1899) and returned to the ultramontanist ideology of one of his earlier predecessors Philip III Krementz (1819-1899, archbishop from 1885). Fischer for example, issued the decree that the neo-Gothic style was the style, in which Catholic churches should be decorated in, both in the homeland and in the mission areas. This proclamation can also be the reason for the relatively long lasting of the neo-Gothic style in the archdiocese of Cologne and in the German mission areas. He left the mission largely guided by his friend Emil August Allgeyer (1856-1924) mission father in Zanzibar. Allgeyer was consecrated bishop in the church of the monastery Knechsteden, a stronghold of nineteenth century ultramontanist thinking and working. The first mission settlement he founded, lay in the Rombo district and was named after the archbishop ‘Fischerstadt’.

The Netherlands as motherland for Catholic mission

In 1859, six years after the official restoration of the episcopal hierarchy in the Netherlands by the pope, the missionary activities among the native population in Asia were taken over by the Dutch Jesuits and after a tight fifty years this mission broke down in parts, transferred in the hands of other orders. Also in the overseas areas such as Suriname, the Redemptorist fathers took the responsibility for the pastoral care for the natives in 1852 and in the West Indies the Dominicans form 1870 on. The orders focused on education and health care according to the Dutch model, so were the Franciscan sisters from Roosendaal the first in Willemstad in 1848 to start a school, followed eight years later by a school in Paramaribo. The Ursulines founded their first school in 1855 on Batavia. (Willemsen 2006)

The mission movement in the Netherlands underwent a boost by the ‘Kulturkampf’, the battle between the Prussian government and the Catholic church (1871-1887) which made German mission-orders to cross the border in 1875, followed by their French brothers and sisters fifteen years later. There was certainly an interaction between the immigrants and the emancipatory Dutch Catholics. However, the missionaries in the colonies were mostly seen as representatives of the secular government and by their low interest in the native language and culture, the communication with the local population became very difficult and got diffused. In a century time 66 Dutch sister congregations and 13 brother orders were settled in the colonies.

As the number of converts hold back in all the colonies, the Vatican choose the time honoured method of ‘planting’ a Church in pagan ‘undiscovered’ areas. These church complexes consisted of a mission house, seminar, church, hospital and other buildings. The Dutch Catholic mission was pretty frustrated by the Protestant mission, as was the German. For example in Indonesia of the 20 Protestant churches, 3 are neo-Gothic and of the 7 Catholic 5.  Although the neo-Gothic style is linked with Catholicism and the traditional image of a church, Protestant and Evangelical churches were also built in this style. But this style was not predominant.

The cathedral Gereja Santa Perawan Maria Diangkat Ke Surga Jakarta

Now I would like to focus on the cathedral of Mary our Lady Assumption in the district of Sawah Besar in Jakarta. The current church was designed by an architect and priest of the Jesuit order, Antonius Dijkmans and built and completed by Marius Hulswit in the years 1891-1901. The costs were 628.000 guilders and half of the amount was collected by the proceeds of a lottery: it took quite a long time to acquire the necessary funds. The consecration took place on 21 April 1901 by bishop Edmundus Sybrandus Luypen (1855-1925). This priest from the society of Jesus arrived in 1889 in the Dutch East Indies and was consecrated in 1898 bishop in the cathedral of Oudenbosch, an ultramontanist stronghold like Knechtsteden in Germany. The church was a perfect copy on a smaller scale of St. Peters in Rome and  built by Pierre Cuypers (1826-1921), the neo-Gothic architect of the Netherlands and Gerrit Jan van der Swaay (1867-1945) in the years 1867-1889. Oudenbosch functioned as the centre for the Zouaves, the voluntary soldiers for the army of the pope, of which the Dutch Catholics provided more than a quarter of volunteers in the papal army.

The architect in Jakarta, Marius Hulswit, worked together with Eduard Cuypers (1859-1927), nephew of the famous Pierre, on the building of the Javanese bank in 1909. The neo-Gothic chapel in Weltevreden, built after 1890, was designed by Antonius Dijkmans.

The cathedral had a cruciform floorplan and is entirely set up in a neo-Gothic mode. The entrance shows the image of Our Lady and above her is a stained glass window with the portrayal of the Rosa Mystica (an image of the Rosary). The building is crowned with three spires of cast iron, two above the side portals and one on the junction. The building had two floors, the second of which is now used as a museum.

The interior is set up according to the known neo-Gothic program: the left side altar is dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin and was manufactured by the atelier Ramakers in Geleen in 1915 and the side altar on the right was founded in honour of St. Joseph in 1922. The main altar dates from the late nineteenth century and was transferred from the former Paterskerk in Groningen in 1956, a demolished church of the Jesuits. The altar is neo-Gohic in outlook, but has a neo-Romanesque design. It could originate from the workshop of Mengelberg in Utrecht. The church of the Fathers was built in 1888 by a Cuypers-pupil Nicolaas Molenaar sr (1850-1930) in the architectural style of Tepe. The possibility of Mengelberg as sculptor of the altar is not invented on the spot. There are letters in which Mengelberg writes about a commission in Groningen in a church that has not yet been identified, but was certainly not the church of St. Joseph, also partly decorated by the Mengelberg-studios. The cathedra in the choir, which is neo-Gothic, is of a tighter style than the bishop’s thrones of Mengelberg in Aix-la-Chapelle, Utrecht and Haarlem.

The Marian-altar is a pure neo-Gothic work from the Ramakers-studio managed in these years by the sons of Jan Willem Ramakers (1820-1887), Henri (1851-1925) and Mathieu (1860-1912). In regard to the dating of the altar Henri is probably the designer. Why was chosen for this studio and not for Cuypers, a choice more obvious given the connection between Eduard Cuypers and Marius Hulswit, is nog clear. The Ramakers-workshop worked largely in neo-Gothic style, but occasionally also in the Baroque mode.

On the South side we see a pieta which is remarkably large and dramatic, but certainly neo-Gothic. The pulpit was installed in 1905 and shows performances from hell at the bottom and heaven at the top, separated by the spreading of the word including the preaches of Jesus. The stations of the cross consists of striking large painted murals in pointed arches in a Beuroneske style and colouring. The School of Beuron was a German art-school of the late nineteenth Century of the Benedictines with a peculiar own style.

Showpiece in the church is a large neo-Gothic organ, made in Belgium by the firm George Verschueren from Tongeren and in 1988 transferred from the church in Amby, a district of Maastricht in the Netherland. The four neo-Gothic confessionals are still present in the church and all the other furniture is of the same style. One can assume that the sacristy and the interior decoration in other parts of the building are also constructed in the same mode.

Although the interior is nog completed in the phase of building or shortly after the consecration, the effort made to use one style proves the interpretation that this church was planned to be neo-Gothic in architecture, decoration and iconographic program.

Review on ultramontanism and mission

It is not for nothing that the visual language of the ultramontanist movement and the mission is neo-Gothic: the building and the ‘outfit’ of the Willibrordus church in Utrecht and the cathedral in Jakarta speak the same language despite geographical distance and follow an identic iconographical program. Ultramontanism and the mission are inseparable in time, place and staffing. Both movements know the same development on the same levels. These levels are the formulation of a clear self-image: the ecclesiastical order as the prominent and preferred order on earth. The definition of a clear goal and organization, such as the spread of the Gospel and the (re) Christianization by associations, fraternities and guilds under the leadership of the pope and the expression of piety in a recognizable and overwhelming visual language that connects these levels.

The similarities between ultramontanism and the mission can be captured in the historical reality of the crisis of the church in and after the French Revolution enforced by the economic and rural crises in the following decades. As a consequence Catholicism wins on uniqueness and speciality and became a safe haven for impoverished and homeless people, not only in the materialistic meaning of the words. Through the focus on the leadership of the pope and the view on the world as a pagan area, accentuated the importance of Rome. The stimulus and enthusiasm came from bottom up, by lay people of all social ranks. A movement that enforced hierarchy in structure and organization. Striking is the fact that there was an intense collaboration between high and lower clergy and laymen. Of the laymen the women were very important, because they committed themselves on a large scale to the mission. The growth and diversity of the mission created again an inner togetherness and focus. (Weichlein 2005)

In countries and areas in Europe where one had the most to fear for revolutionary and modernist developments, ultramontanist and the missionary movements were the strongest, as in parts of France (Lyon), Belgium (Liège and Gent), Netherlands (Limburg and Brabant) and Germany (Bayern and the Rhine-land, the region Aix-la-Chapelle and Paderborn). The alliances that were made with royal families and nobility were primarily motivated to protect themselves for the consequences of a changing society. The proclamation of the Gospel, the attempt of an establishment of the ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ on earth in the former colonies was an expression of the problems in West European society on all levels in general and in the Roman Catholic church in particular.

[i] Weichlein (2005) p.99

[ii] Weichlein (2005) p.106

[iii] Vints (2000) pp.130-131

[iv] Vints(2000) p.131

[v] Vints (2000) p.132

[vi] Weichlein(2005) p.93

februari 2017