Religion: Dutch Defeat

Bishops back Vatican line

For each of the 15 days of deliberations, a white-robed Pope John Paul II sat Sphinxlike, jotting down notes but never saying a word. Or so went the official version of the extraordinary synod of Dutch bishops at the Vatican, an account intended to play down the Pope's role. But as the synod ended last week the truth leaked out. John Paul had spoken often and, it was obvious, decisively, to persuade the bishops to enforce Vatican policy in their rebellious land.

At the closing Mass in the Sistine Chapel, John...

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