Saturday, December 7, 2013

Pope talks openly about reform, sex abuse, Dutch bishop says

Joshua J. McElwee
National Catholic Reporter
Dec. 6, 2013

Rome- Pope Francis told a group of Dutch bishops this week that the Vatican must continue reforms undertaken by the Catholic church in the 1960s and ‘70s, according to one of the participants in the meeting.

Bishop Jan Hendricks, who attended the meeting Monday, later recounted that the pope said implementation of the 1962-65 Second Vatican Council is only half complete.

“We have been implementing the council only half-way,” Hendriks recalled from the pope’s words. “Half of the work has still to be done.”

Hendriks, the auxiliary bishop of the Haarlem-Amsterdam diocese, was one of 13 Dutch bishops to take part in the meeting with the pope. They are in Rome for their ad limina, a formal visit bishops around the world are required to make to report to the pope on their individual dioceses.

The Dutch visit is one of the first for Francis, who has so far received visits only from bishops from several of the regions that make up the Italian episcopal conference.


The Dutch church has also been dealing in a particular way with the ongoing clergy sex abuse crisis in the Catholic church.

A 2011 report [2] by an inquiry commission created by the Dutch government said church officials had “failed to adequately deal with” abuse affecting as many as 20,000 of the country's children in Catholic institutions between 1945 and 1981.

Hendriks said the pope told the Dutch bishops to “really go on to care for the victims.”

“We can’t talk half-measures on this,” Hendriks recalled the pope saying. “We have to be straight. We owe this to the victims.”


"The key word of what the pope said to us is the word speranza, which is hope," said Hoogenboom, who spoke outside St. Peter's Square after leaving the audience.

"The situation in the Netherlands with secularization is rather difficult, but the pope has strengthened us in the faith like St. Peter," he said.

Bishop Gerard de Korte of the northern Dutch diocese of Groningen-Leeuwarden said Monday the pope was most focused on telling the Dutch to be engaged in society.

Speaking to the Dutch Catholic broadcasting network RKK, de Korte said the Dutch bishops had focused in their written report to the pope for their ad limina visit on issues of catechesis, but Francis seemed more interested in issues of charity — telling them to use charity as a way to attract people to Christianity.

read full article at National Catholic Reporter

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