Religious freedom soon to be severely curtailed?

Slightly unusual for this Catholic blog, I share with you a letter from the general synod of the Protestant Church in the Netherlands. They write to the leaders of all political parties in parliament to urge them not to accept a proposed law that would prohibit ritual slaughter of animals, or any form of slaughter that does not involve sedation. This proposal, if made law, will severely curtail the freedom of religious expression in this country.

The discussion is lively on Twitter, but this is the first official response from a church community. Hopefully the Dutch bishops will follow suit. This proposal is one of the more serious potential infringements on religious freedom we have seen in recent times (matched only once in recent history, during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands…).

The letter makes some valid points why this should not become law. Go read the original or the English translation.

Preparation for the Vatican blognic off to a good start

Anna Arco of the Catholic Herald reports the following message from the Pontifical Council for Social Communications regarding the Vatican blogmeet of 2 May:

Dear Friends
By 8am Monday morning we had received over 400 requests.. On Wednesday 13 April we will close the application process and sort out requests into categories of language, geography, typology etc. and where necessary we will draw lots to make the final selection. On Saturday a list of participants will be posted on We are heartened by the widespread interest, and ask you all to be patient with this effort to increase dialogue with the blogging community, and also to support us with your prayers.

Richard Rouse and Ariel Beramendi

It looks like the blogmeet, despite it being announced rather late, has garnered much interest in a pretty short time. As I wrote earlier, only about 150 people will be able to attend, and it’ll be interesting to see who will be selected to participate.

In the meantime, various Catholic bloggers are organising The *Other* Rome Blognic on the afternoon of 3 May. As far as I understand it, the reason for an alternate blogmeet is the fear that the so-called ‘Taliban Catholics’ won’t be heard or selected for the official meeting. This second blogmeet is presented as one that will be fun and that will actually be about something, essentially a meeting that will matter. In my eyes, it’s a rather premature conclusion to draw that only moderate bloggers will be invited to the official blogmeet, while those that tackle the difficult questions and are sometimes critical about Church leadership and policies will be ignored. And, added to that, I think that the official meeting should be embraced and supported by all bloggers, exactly because it is among the first tentative steps of the Vatican into the blogosphere. Hosting an alternate meeting will hardly do much good towards creating a unified blogging community working with the Church.