Roman Catholics: Declaration of Independence

The church in The Netherlands is perhaps the most independent and autonomy-minded in the Roman Catholic fold. Time and again, it has challenged Rome's ideas of orthodoxy. Last week the Dutch defied the Vatican again, this time with particular force. Meeting in the North Sea town of Noordwijkerhout, the Dutch Pastoral Council, a 109-member assembly of laymen, priests and bishops chosen two years ago to outline policy for the country's 5,000,000 Catholics, rejected Pope Paul's encyclical Humanae Vitae as "not convincing on the basis of the argumentation given." That statement was all the more imposing because it was signed...

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