Holy Father receives new Dutch ambassador to Holy See

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:

Vatican to investigate Medjugorje

Rome Reports, er… reports that Pope Benedict XVI has formed a commission to look into the alleged apparitions of the Blessed Virgin at Medjugorje. The formation of such a commission had been rumoured recently, but it now seems that concrete steps are being taken.   

Cardinal Ruini

The commission will be presided over by Camillo Cardinal Ruini, vicar general emeritus of the Diocese of Rome, and will be part of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The goal of the commission is simply to find out what exactly happened at Medjugorje, if it still continues to happen and to remove the doubts that still linger.  

At the moment, the Church has not issued any official statements about Medjugorje. That means that people are free to go there on pilgrimage, but that the Church will not support it as a pilgrimage site. It is, after all, unclear if it really us one. Local bishop Ratko Peric has spoken regularly against the supernatural origin of the Medjugorje phenomenon.