Religion: Paul's Flying Dutchman

During his 15 years on the Vatican's ecumenism staff, Johannes Gerardus Maria Willebrands has been a skilled, tireless builder of bridges between Roman Catholics and other Christians. Now he faces the equally delicate task of building bridges within his own church. Even while Willebrands retains the presidency of the Secretariat for Christian Unity, Pope Paul VI has appointed the clear-eyed cardinal as the new archbishop of Utrecht and thus the primate of the troubled Dutch Catholic church.

Under the tolerant eye of the now retiring Bernard Cardinal Alfrink, Dutch Catholics were long in the forefront of innovation. Generally asserting autonomy vis-à-vis Rome,...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!