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Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Archbishop André-Joseph Léonard



On Monday, Bishop André-Mutien Léonard, of the Diocese of Namur, was appointed as the new Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussel (Malines-Brussels). He is the most traditional bishop of Belgium, has publicly defended Pope Pius XII against the allegation of "silence" made against him, and has often spoken out forcefully against abortion and euthanasia and on other moral issues concerning sexuality and bioethics. Regarding some comments that he made on television about homosexual behaviour, he said:
I know that within a few years, I will risk prison by saying this, but it could offer me a little vacation.
He was in fact charged with homophobia: the charges were dropped last April.

He welcomed Summorum Pontificum with enthusiasm, arranged for a daily usus antiquior Mass in his cathedral of Namur and, as NLM reported, celebrated Pontifical High Mass at the Eucharistic Congress in Quebec in 2008 (see picture above.) Some years earlier, he took part in the 2001 conference at Fontgombault with Cardinal Ratzinger - an occasion at which the idea of the "Reform of the Reform" really took off.

Considering his approach to the Liturgy, I found this photo amusing (note the sign):



Since being appointed Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussel on Monday, he has dropped the "Mutien" from his name and taken the name "Joseph" instead, in honour of St Joseph, the patron saint of Belgium. On his website, he lists his priorities for the Archdiocese of Mechelen-Brussel. These include:

  • systematic pastoral visitation of the parishes of the Archdiocese (something he did assiduously in Namur)
  • celebrating the Liturgy in a way that is dignified and faithful to the tradition of the Church, and encouraging Eucharistic adoration
  • social concern, especially for the homeless
  • the promotion of vocations; and the sharing of responsibilities

Belgium has 8 dioceses and a Military Ordinariate. There are 71 seminarians in Belgium. 35 of them are for the Diocese of Namur.
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