Prominent Dutch Philosopher and Convert Charts Her Path to the Catholic Church
Political commentator Eva Vlaardingerbroek and her father will be received Into the Church Sunday.
AMSTERDAM — Eva Vlaardingerbroek, a popular Dutch legal philosopher and political commentator who has become well-known in recent years for her criticism of increasingly prominent social ideologies in contemporary Western society, will be received into the Catholic Church along with her father on Sunday.
Born to a Catholic mother and Protestant father, Vlaardingerbroek, 26, was brought up a Christian, but it was the COVID-19 pandemic that fully awakened her to the reality of the spiritual battle the world is facing, and a realization that the Catholic faith is “the most powerful weapon” against the moral relativism of today.
In this April 19 email interview with the Register, Vlaardingerbroek shares more about her journey to the faith, how in her experience evil supernatural forces ramp up their opposition when one speaks about one’s love for Christ, but how this also shows the need to be uncompromising and courageous in opposing the grave evils of our time, whether they be gender ideology, radical feminism or transhumanism.
Vlaardingerbroek said, “If we don’t take our enemies seriously enough, and we don’t even dare speak up for Christ, after all he has done for us, how do we expect to win?”
Eva, could you tell us a little about your upbringing? Were your parents and family religious and did they influence you either for or against becoming a Catholic?
I was born in Amsterdam in 1996 and my younger brother and I were raised in a smaller city not too far from there. Both my mother and father are Christians and work in the classical music industry. My mother is a Catholic; my father, up until today (he and I will both be received on April 23) was a Protestant — so I was introduced to both faiths. Although I never experienced a clash of faith between my mother and my father growing up, I did notice the differences when I saw my extended family at birthday parties. The reason for that is probably that my grandfather (my father’s father) is an incredibly devout (now retired) reformed pastor and Old Testament theologian.
Although I would definitely say I was “raised” Christian and had the privilege of growing up listening to the most wonderful Catholic music on a daily basis, I never felt that my parents pressured me to go to church or pray. Nothing was ever imposed on me. If anything — looking back — I wish my parents had maybe pushed me a bit more when it came to practicing my faith. Because although I had periods in my life where I wasn’t very occupied with the church, I have always believed in God, for as long as I can remember.
I was baptized in the Protestant church and attended the Protestant church for years as a child, till my father decided to join my mother at Mass about 15 years ago. He decided to join her, because he was fed up with how politicized (leftist) our Protestant church had become. I joined them but, like every teenager, I felt like I didn’t belong (in a general sense), so I also felt like I didn’t belong at Mass, since I wasn’t officially a Catholic and started going to church less frequently.
Again, although I never questioned my belief in Christ, as a student my attitude didn’t change much. If anything, I often cherry picked when it came to both faiths and never really made a conscious effort to decide whether I wanted to be a Protestant or a Catholic. My faith sadly didn’t play a very central role in my life.
What personally drew you to the Catholic faith, and when did you realize that the Catholic Church is the one true faith founded by Christ?
During the final days of my studies and at the start of my career in politics, I experienced a lot of backlash for my conservative political views. I quickly became rather used to the feeling of being canceled for speaking uncomfortable truths, but something — I think for many of us — fundamentally changed during the pandemic. Going against the establishment’s narrative didn’t just get you canceled “socially,” it got you canceled “legally” this time around.
During that time, I wholeheartedly realized that we aren’t just fighting a political fight (right vs. left), but that we are dealing with a spiritual fight (good vs. evil). The speed at which people were ready to condemn those of us who didn’t follow “the science” and the speed at which our governments abolished our constitutional rights, was a true wake-up call to me. Evil wasn’t something that only existed during certain times (of war) in history. It opened my eyes to the fact that evil is very much alive — and that sadly a lot of people can be seduced by it very, very quickly.
I started noticing that when I argued against vaccine mandates, for example, a solely utilitarian argument didn’t suffice to me. I didn’t want to argue about whether the vaccine was stopping transmissions and whether it was justified for the government to force it on us for medical reasons. I wanted to take a moral stance. And the only moral stance that seemed right to me was that I was created in the image of God, that my body is a temple and that my (bodily) rights were endowed upon me by my Creator and therefore are inalienable. My rights were not given to me by the government, who could — and would, clearly — take them away from me anytime, but they were given to me by my Creator, by God.
So that’s exactly what I started saying in the public debate. I openly started involving my faith in my political commentary and I decided immediately that I would never compromise on that again. I experienced what happens when you come out and speak about your love for Christ: The evil forces in the world become louder, because there is nothing they hate more than testimony, but the good forces in my life are also a hundred times stronger and I became stronger. It made me think about my faith. I quickly realized the time of cherry picking should be over, but I didn’t know which church I should join, so I decided to take my time. Spending some time in America, I went to a lot of “non-denominational” churches where I met the most wonderful, devout Christians I’d ever met. But in those big convention center churches, something was missing. And then I found professor Peter Kreeft’s speeches on YouTube. I watched his content for hours on end till I stumbled on his video called “Seven Reasons Why Everyone Should Become a Catholic.” I watched it, and I simply couldn’t argue with what he said. Everything made sense. From the fact that Christ himself founded the Church, to the importance of the saints, to the real miracle of the Eucharist. I knew I had to make a choice.
And during last year’s Christmas Mass, that’s exactly what I did. I felt in my heart that I wanted to be a Catholic. When I came home from Mass I received a Merry Christmas message from my dear friend and fellow fighter Father Benedict Kiely, whom I had met at the National Conservatism Conference in Brussels a year earlier. He wished me a Merry Christmas and asked me when I was going to become a Catholic. There is no such thing as coincidence and the rest is history.
What elements of Catholicism particularly attracted you?
Transubstantiation was key to me. As a Protestant I rejected the concept, I never felt like I could rationalize that, so I went with the “it’s symbolic” argument. But when you look at Scripture, at what Jesus Himself said, he’s crystal clear. It’s not symbolic at all. And even though I can’t rationalize it, I believe it; because if Christ said it is so, it is so. So then there is no other choice but to become a Catholic.
The Netherlands like all Benelux countries has a rich Catholic heritage but seems almost all lost to secularism, which has dominated politics and society. How did you navigate your way through such prevailing modernism and liberalism to find the Catholic faith?
The most powerful weapon against the leftist relativism is the Catholic faith. What is better at a time where people say, “anything goes” than to say “No”? There is such a thing as beauty, there is such a thing as Good, and there is such a thing as the Truth. He is the Truth, the Way and the Life. And that will never change. Catholic doctrine remains the same, no matter who is the Pope or what turmoil the Church goes through as an institution. The doctrine has and always will withstand the test of time, because he himself founded the Church.
How does the Gospel, and Catholic teaching in particular, give you hope and meaning in life and in your work as a political commentator?
I try to make sure all of my views align with my faith. I might get it wrong in the eyes of some, but to me it’s the essence. It’s the driving force behind my activism, because as a Catholic I don’t want to sit still, faith is also about good deeds after all.
Of course, there is always room for improvement, but I make it my mission to stand up for conservative values, freedom and people’s rights. I make it my mission to stand up for ordinary people who are deemed invisible by the establishment. It pains me to see how people struggle in our society and are branded as deplorables by our global elites. That’s not what Christ teaches us.
Politically and socially speaking, I think we live in incredibly dark times. An upside down world, where people call men women, women men; a world where people call evil good and good evil, as described in Isaiah 5:20. But I trust in God, and I know that the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. Nothing gives me more hope than that. Good will win because Christ has already conquered death and set us free. Therefore, I fear God more than I fear man.
We are saved through him, no matter what happens here on earth. I try to remember that what people think of me on this earth is of no importance, compared to what God thinks of me. He and the Truth is what leads me in my political endeavors.
You’ve frequently spoken out against globalism and its detrimental effect on the Netherlands, most visibly seen in the Dutch farmers’ protests but also in other areas such as the authoritarian COVID-19 response and the Great Reset. How can Catholics alert others to the dangers of these trends in an effective way that also gives people hope for the future?
In my speech “Reject Globalism: Embrace God” at the National Conservatism Conference in Brussels in 2022, which can be seen on YouTube, I spoke about what I think Christians should do in the fight against globalism and transhumanism extensively.
I said: “We are fighting such a large evil, that we can only win with him on our side. And we have him on our side. But if we spend our energy on hiding him, why would He be there for us?”
And I mean that. The main message is: You have to speak out. We will have to recognize that we are dealing with an evil ideology that is fundamentally opposed to everything we, as Catholics stand for, if we want to stand a fighting chance.
The problem is that many Christians fall for the “pretty words” the globalists use to sell us their plans. Whether it’s climate change, COVID or transhumanism, they present their “solutions” under the guise of equality and noble pretexts, but in fact, if you look at what they’re really proposing, it always comes down to the fact that these people want to play God. And the solutions they offer — vaccine passports, transhumanism, “saving the planet” — always feed off of people’s fear of death. Which, sadly, if you believe this life on earth is all there is, is not a strange thing to be afraid of.
So what I believe needs to be done is that Christians, especially Catholics, openly reject any type of cultural or religious relativism. The narrative of “you can have your truth and I have mine,” is I think exactly what the devil wants people to say.
Of course, you can have your opinion and I can have mine, but there is such a thing as the Truth: Christ is the Truth, the Way and the Life. If we truly believe that we should say it. Out loud. Morality based on secular values is like a house without a foundation. The house can look nice from the outside, it can be built by nice, well-meaning people, but it won’t last.
If we don’t take our enemies seriously enough and we don’t even dare speak up for Christ, after all he has done for us, how do we expect to win?
You’ve often also criticized feminism. How damaging is it to society in your view, and do you see this and other contemporary social ills (gender ideology, same-sex “marriage” etc.) as part of the spiritual battle you describe, one most effectively fought as a practicing Catholic?
The gender ideology and feminism are probably the most damaging ideologies that there are for women (and man for that matter) because it stops people from getting married, starting families and becoming truly happy and fulfilling their (moral) duty.
My generation has been told we shouldn’t get married or have kids, because it’s all just an oppressive social construct created by the patriarchy to keep you down. And on top of that, having children is bad for the climate too, so just don’t bother. … And on top of that, we’re told that we can sleep around as much as we want and if you do get pregnant, you can have an abortion, because it’s your body, your choice.
It honestly and truly is the work of the devil. No less. And he’s sadly been gaining ground. I find it hard nowadays to meet people my age who haven’t been completely indoctrinated with the woke ideology. Most of my contemporaries truly believe that your feelings or how you “identify” is the indicator of your gender.
And again, the only solution I see to this problem is to be ruthlessly uncompromising. God created Adam and Eve, not 73 different genders. That’s Man trying to be his own little god, which has never worked and will never work. And we know it. My generation is absolutely miserable. So the best thing we can do as Catholics is tell people there is an alternative that you can follow. Because there is and he has a name: Jesus Christ.