Friday, April 10, 2015

Dutch Catholic Church Turned Into Skate Park

Alter boy

While the Pope is working on his new encyclical on global warming, the European Church is hemorrhaging worshippers. Or rather, when you've already lost 90% of your blood, can the letting out of the remainder be called hemorrhaging?

Perhaps we should call it a mercy killing.

This actually happened in 2011, but for some reason it is getting a lot of press now. There's a video report by a Christian broadcasting source, and a Wall Street Journal article, which incredibly is featured on the "Skatepark's" website. The video will be presented underneath excerpts from the Wall Street Journal text.

I forgot to add, in anticipation of the Pope's Jubilee Year of Mercy, Father Hans Pauw, should be hung by his thumbs and then shot.
ARNHEM, Netherlands, 1 March, 2015—Two dozen scruffy skateboarders launched perilous jumps in a soaring old church building here on a recent night, watched over by a mosaic likeness of Jesus and a solemn array of stone saints. 
This is the Arnhem Skate Hall, an uneasy reincarnation of the Church of St. Joseph, which once rang with the prayers of nearly 1,000 worshipers.
Across Europe, churches are closing...
But it is in the Netherlands where the trend appears to be most advanced. The country’s Roman Catholic leaders estimate that two-thirds of their 1,600 churches will be out of commission in a decade... 
...At the Arnhem Skate Hall, the altar and organ of the church, built in 1928, have been ripped out, while a dusty cupboard still holds sheet music for a choir that hasn’t sung in 10 years. A skateboard attached to a wall urges, “Ride the dark side.” 
Two dozen young men speed along wooden ramps and quarter-pipes, their falls thundering through the church, as rap music reverberates where hymns once sounded. An old tire hangs on the statue of a saint. 
Puck Smit, 21, a regular visitor, says the church ambience enhances the skating experience. “It creates a lot of atmosphere—it’s a bit of Middle Ages,” he says, between gulps from a large bottle of cola. “When I first saw it, I just stood there for five minutes staring.” 
Another regular, Pelle Klomp, 14, says visitors occasionally stop by to complain. “Especially the older people say, ‘It’s ridiculous, you’re dishonoring faith,’ ” he says. “And I can understand that. But they weren’t using it.” 
...Father Hans Pauw, pastor of St. Eusebius Parish, confirms the parish is trying to sell the church, but says church leaders have no problem with skaters using it for now. He said the parish is talking to a potential buyer. 
There are some things we don’t want—a casino or a sex palace or that kind of thing,” Father Pauw says. “But when it’s no longer a church in our eyes, then it can have any purpose.” As for the painting of Jesus holding a skateboard that now adorns the interior, he says, “I can see the humor in it.”
Well, I can't. But here's the video:

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