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:

Archbishop Léonard’s explanations

In a move that perhaps shows that Archbishop Léonard is better off without a spokesman like Jürgen Mettepenningen, the archbishop of Brussels published a letter in which he explained the three points on which he has been the subject of relentless attack in the past weeks. The Dutch text of the letter is available as a PDF file here, and I provide an English translation, as usual, here. It is a serious letter that deserves to be read in its entirety and taking for what it is worth. It requires an objective eye unclouded by the misconceptions and emotion that have prevailed in the media. Msgr. Léonard is both a more challenging author and a more intelligent one than most of the writers of newspaper and website articles. With a topic that is an unpopular one for the unforgiving god of modern liberal secularism, this letter asks us to use our own heads and not simply drift along with the waves of political correctness and blind emotion.

Drifting along leads to shameful sights like in this video, which shows the archbishop being slapped in the face during a liturgical celebration.

Text of the nuncio’s homily is online

The homily that Archbishop Bacqué gave at the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin in the church of St. Agnes has been published online. The text, unsurprisingly, is in Dutch, but I have taken the liberty of making an English translation. The nuncio focuses on the motherhood of Mary in its various forms, and I found it noteworthy that he also referred to her as the mother of the new evangelisation. This in light, of course, of the recent creation by the pope of a dicastery devoted to exactly that new evangelisation in the heavily secularised west.

Via the first link is the text above you’ll also find more photos of the Mass in the Extraordinary Form which Msgr. Bacqué presided over. There is also a video of the procession around the roundabout in front of the church. Browse through the links underneath the header ‘Special Maria Tenhemelopneming 2010’.

You’ll also find the my translation on the ‘translations’ page, as usual.