Sede Vacante and a Dutch Priest Writing a Book

Fr. Roderick Vonhögen

Fr. Roderick Vonhögen, a priest in the Archdiocese of Utrecht, the Netherlands. Screenshot by Lyn Francisco

Wow, this has been a rather exciting past couple of weeks. The biggest news coming out of the Vatican during the month of February was the news that Pope Benedict XVI was going to abdicate as Bishop of Rome and retire at the end of the month. Now you may ask, “How does this news affect a Dutch priest writing a book?”

That is a good question. The Dutch priest in question happens to be Fr. Roderick Vonhögen, a priest from the Archdiocese of Utrecht in the Netherlands. In addition to his priestly duties, he also podcasts with the Star Quest Production Network (SQPN) as well as serves as a presenter for Dutch TV and radio. He’s also quite active in social media on Facebook and Twitter in addition to keeping his own blog. In January, he announced that he was writing a book that would be published in the Fall of 2013. With a deadline of March 1, that would give him time to tell his story then provide enough time to edit and polish things up before he submits his manuscript to his publisher.

However, things didn’t quite work out that way. The surprise announcement from Pope Benedict XVI on February 11 that he was stepping down because he no longer felt capable to perform the duties that come with the Petrine ministry changed Fr. Roderick’s plans considerably. He discusses this in depth in his podcast, The Break, and I’ll direct you to Episode 871 to hear his thoughts on the whole thing.

How am I involved in this? I volunteered to beta-read his manuscript before he submits it to his US-based publishers. As you may expect, Fr. Roderick’s first language is Dutch, so he’s writing in a language that is not his mother tongue. We had originally planned for two weeks to do final read-throughs and edits to the manuscript before he submits it to his publishers on March 1. However, due to the news surrounding the pope’s resignation, we weren’t able to start the editing process until two days before the manuscript was due! Fr. Roderick discussed this extensively in Episode 872 of The Break, and I encourage you to listen to it as you can really hear the enthusiasm in his voice as he discusses his book, amongst other things. I also wrote about this experience in a recent blogpost; click here to read all about it.

Happily, Fr. Roderick’s publisher has the manuscript, and we will be awaiting round two of edits, potential re-writes, and clarifications. It will all contribute to a polished final version that should go to press in late summer. The book, whose title will be announced at some point in time in the future, will also be available for Kindle and other e-book formats, plus he’ll plan to record an audio book for it at some point in time later on this year. Stay tuned!

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