Religion: Rome 3, Holland 0

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The Vatican seems determined to use the Roman Catholic Church of The Netherlands as a test case to prove that the progressive wing of the church can be curbed. What is more, it seems to be winning. First there was the appointment of conservative Msgr. Adrianus Simonis to the see of Rotterdam. Then came the appointment of a stubborn reactionary, Johannes Gijsen, to the see of Roermond (TIME, July 24). Now the hierarchy of The Netherlands has been forced to cancel a national pastoral council meeting set for October.

The first pastoral council met several times from 1968 to 1970 to discuss the most pressing issues in the Dutch church. For the Vatican, at least, the council included far too many outspoken laymen and Dutch progressive priests. In January 1970, for instance, the council voted in favor of ending mandatory celibacy. This autumn's meeting was to be a "follow-up," with delegates split about fifty-fifty between hierarchal appointees and those of diocesan councils and other groups. But Rome clearly did not want a repeat of the earlier embarrassments, and wanted to allow no forum for criticism of its recent episcopal appointments. Bernard Jan Cardinal Alfrink sorrowfully took to television to announce the cancellation. His first word said all he felt: "Tragic."