On Friday, His Excellency Joseph Weterings, the new Dutch ambassador to the Holy See, presented his letters of credence to Pope Benedict XVI, officially starting his mission as the highest Dutch diplomat at the heartland of Catholic Christianity. The Holy Father delivered a short address, included in this news report.
Since occasions on which the pope addresses the Dutch people, if through the channels of diplomacy and government, are pretty rare, I thought it good to include a Dutch translation.
Diplomatic language is necessarily careful, so very direct and resounding words can’t be expected, but it should be clear that modern Dutch society is not one that Catholics should automatically feel at home in. But, be clearly linking this address to the important one he gave at the German Bundestag, Pope Benedict XVI indicates that what he told politicians there, is just as valid for politicians here.
An important part of the address is the conclusion (emphasis mine):
“While your nation has long championed the freedom of individuals to make their own choices, nevertheless, those choices by which people inflict harm on themselves or others must be discouraged, for the good of individuals and society as a whole. Catholic social teaching, as you know, places great emphasis on the common good, as well as the integral good of individuals, and care is always needed to discern whether perceived rights are truly in accordance with those natural principles of which I spoke earlier.”
Rome Reports has a short video item: