Volume 42, Issue 91
  • ISSN: 0923-7771
  • E-ISSN: 2665-9492



Since the fifties of the twentieth century Roman-catholic or ecumenical student parishes exist in all university cities in the Netherlands. The history of these parishes goes back to the end of the nineteenth century, when Roman-catholic students started to organize to armor themselves intellectually and morally against antipapism and positivism. All these student associations had a so called ‘moderator’, a spiritual advisor in a leading role. In the first decennia the moderator had a strong influence on the policy and programming of the associations. During the century however the associations grew and also got a social function, becoming full student associations next to the existing student corpora. During World War II most students had to go into hiding in order not to get caught for the German . The moderators did what they could to keep in touch with them, personally and with stenciled letters, and directed themselves not only to the association members, but to all catholic students.

After the war this orientation to all Catholics was formalized by founding student parishes, and in the sixties moderatorship disappeared. In the early seventies these student parishes stood in the forefront of the renewal movement of Dutch Catholicism. Afterwards, as a consequence of the secularization, the accent of the student chaplains shifted to personal counseling, meditation and other activities concerning personal growth.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): pastoral care; student associations; student parishes; universities
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