February 2, 2000
volume 11, no. 23

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    Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday we spotlight each member of the Conclave in alphabetical order. We find this necessary as our dear Sovereign Pontiff Pope John Paul II grows older, clinging to hope, as we join him, of seeing the light of the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart with the dawn of the new millennium - the Jubilee Year 2000. How much longer this 264th successor of Peter has left on this earth only God knows for sure, but His Divine Mercy is evident in allowing him to be with us this long for he truly is a saint for our times, truly Christ's Vicar on earth in these waning days before the glorious Reign of the Sacred Heart, the Time of Peace, the Era of the Eucharistic Presence, the New Pentecost, the Second Advent, the Age of the Holy Spirit. What 1999 will bring we have no idea, nor does anyone else, but with John Paul II at the helm, we feel much more secure in knowing God's Will will be done. Nevertheless, we want to preview the future Pope whether that be soon or much, much later, for no one lives forever and eventually one of those prelates will be selected as the 265th successor of Peter. This will give the reader a better insight into the man whom the Holy Spirit will move the conclave to choose. Thus we bring the reader vignettes on each cardinal in alphabetical order gleaned from the Catholic Almanac, The Official Catholic Directory, Inside the Vatican and other sources.

153.   Cardinal Johannes Willebrands
        Born on September 4, 1909 in Bovenkarspel, Holland Cardinal Johannes Willebrands is one of the older cardinals at 90 years old. Immediately after World War I he entered the seminary in his Diocese of Haarlem in the Netherlands and completed his studies at the Angelicum receiving his masters in Philosophy. He was ordained on May 26, 1934 and, after more studies was assigned to the faculty of Warmond University in Holland from 1937 to 1940. With the outbreak of World War II he was forced underground until after the war when he was appointed Rector of the Major Seminary in Haarlem. He was chosen Secretary for Christian Unity in Holland by Pope John XXIII in 1959 as well as elected president of the St. Willebrord Association with the purpose of promoting ecumenical good in the Netherlands.

        Some think this was taken too far for after Vatican II no country showed a quicker decline in the Faith as did the Netherlands, once a highly Catholic country. This can be attributed to the progressive renewal employed in Holland where priests and nuns shed their collars and habits respectively and sought to become more worldly. In this mistaken attempt to reach the laity they themselves became more worldly and lost the focus of the Church universally. Cardinal Willebrands has to share some of that blame, and has been reminded of that many times, having celebrated Mass on Sunday morning with less than a handful in attendance.

        Pope Paul VI made him a bishop on June 4, 1964 as Titular Bishop of Mauriana. He was ordained on June 28, 1964. Five years later he was honored by Paul VI who bestowed on him the red-hat during his Consistory of April 28, 1969. Cardinal Willebrands remains one of the few left to receive the cardinalte under Paul VI. On December 5, 1975 Paul elevated him to the Archbishop of Utrecht where he remained until reaching 76 when he retired on December 3, 1983. Despite his status as Archbishop-emeritus of Utrecht Pope John Paul II made him the Camerlengo of the College of Cardinals where he resides today at Piazza della Citta Leonina 1 in Rome.


February 2, 2000
volume 11, no. 23

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