Roman catholic church

   During the Middle Ages in western Europe, Roman Catholicism was the embodiment of Christianity. During the 16th century, several Protestant sects gained a firm foothold in the Netherlands (among them Lutheranism, Anabap tism, and Calvinism). Although the Calvinist church enjoyed state privilege in the Dutch Republic from the end of the 16th century, other churches were largely tolerated as long as they kept a low pro file in the daily life of the Dutch. In the view of Rome, the Republic had become a region of “mission”: its Catholic inhabitants (about 40 percent of the total population) were governed by an apostolic vicar. At the beginning of the 18th century, a schism divided the Roman Catholics in the Netherlands: a small part seceded as the “Utrecht” church under the Vicar Petrus Codde (1648–1710) and his successor in 1723, Archbishop Cornelis Steenhoven (1661–1725). During the Batavian Revolution, Catholics were given equal rights with other religions; separation of church and state was established in 1796. So cial acceptance and the emancipation of the Roman Catholics in Dutch society, however, was achieved only gradually and reluctantly. In 1853, the liberal Dutch government agreed with Rome to the restoration of the ecclesiastical hierarchy through the creation of bishoprics. In the 1870s, Protestants and Roman Catholics founded their own separate political parties, which merged into one demo cratic Christian party in 1973. Catholic emancipation expressed it self in education(separate schools, a universityin Nijmegen), liter ature, and architecture (with many new church buildings going up). Support of the Roman Catholic Church has been declining since 1960 as part of a broad secularization process. The Netherlands consists of seven dioceses: Utrecht (archbishopric), Breda, Haarlem, ’s Herto genbosch, Roermond, and since 1955, Groningen and Rotterdam.

Historical Dictionary of the Netherlands. . 2012.

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