The Pope’s discourse to the Dutch bishops during their "ad limina" visit

Source: FSSPX News


In a long discourse, the Pope immediately set into relief the "intense phenomenon of secularization which strikes the Church full force and which unfortunately continues to mark the Dutch society to the point that the evangelical reference seems to disappear form certain choices and certain orientations of individuals as well as of the public life, notably in the realm of ethics." For this reason, he explained, the Christian communities are faced with an important and continual withering away which is "a subject of serious preoccupation" for the bishops".

"In front of this persistent ancient and new difficulties to the faith, they could be tempted with discouragement or retiring in oneself", indicated John Paul II, nevertheless he calls the Dutch Church to "hope".

Concerning the young, the Pope "invited the Catholic schools to maintain or reinforce their own identity, harmonizing it with the ever new demands of education in the midst of a pluralist society, in the respect of others, but without renouncing what makes its original riches".

To favor furthermore this evangelization, John Paul II invited the Dutch Church to be careful about "the beauty of the liturgical celebration" and "to respect faithfully the liturgical norms established by the Church". He underlined the importance of ecclesial communion "with one’s bishop and with the Roman Pontiff", and insisted on the fact that it is necessary to watch carefully over "the complementarity of the roles in the Christian community, whose pastor is the priest".

Faced with the "crisis of vocations which continues to affect Holland seriously", the Pope insisted on the "priority mission" which consist in carrying on the "marked efforts" already made to "undertake a vigorous pastoral of vocations". He also expressed his anxiety about the consecrated life, explaining that "today’s communities have much aged and run the risk of disappearing, if nothing is done to incite new vocations." He thus exhorted "religious and nuns to live their charisma with faithfulness and confidence, without fearing the coming of younger religious communities or new ecclesial movements which can certainly contribute to render the consecrated life closer and more visible, and might also help to revivify more ancient communities".

The Pope however noted, in the Dutch society, "a new thirst for spirituality" which is especially expressed "in the new generations", and in this respect he invited lay people "to bear witness to the Christian values", in particular on the "question of ethics, incessantly raised by the technical progress and economical pressure".

Lastly, in a society earmarked by the ecumenical and interreligious cohabitation, John Paul II wished that "the catholic faithful appeared in the eyes of all, notably the adepts of other religions, as artisans of peace, careful to dialoging in the truth and passionate for the respect of man".