Religion: Washing Dirty Linen in Rome

Pope John Paul II confronts squabbling Dutch bishops

Outside the Vatican's Apostolic Palace, radical Italian protesters last week waved placards declaring SYNOD EQUALS REPRESSION, WOJTYLA GO HOME and WOJTYLA EQUALS KHOMEINI. The gibes at John Paul II were signs of the tension surrounding a meeting beginning inside the palace. In official Vaticanese, it was a "Particular Synod." In reality, it was an unprecedented personal intervention by a Pope to deal with the sorry plight of the Catholic Church in Holland, where the 5.6 million Catholics make up 40% of the population. The bishops are squabbling, attacks on Vatican policy are endemic, and...

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