The Netherlands: The Pope's Rancorous Trip

The Pope's Rancorous Trip

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"My name is Popie Jopie./ I happily travel 'round,/ And always when I arrive/ I spontaneously kiss the ground . . ." So runs last week's fifth- most-popular song on Holland's hit parade. The mild piece of satire contains a punster's slap at Pope John Paul II: popie jopie is a Dutch expression meaning obnoxious. The song is but one indication of the hostility that will greet the Pontiff when he arrives in the Netherlands on Saturday for a four-day visit. More disturbing are the threats of violence. Dutch authorities have mobilized 12,000 police for what will be the country's biggest and most costly security operation. In Amsterdam, police have already arrested two young men for displaying posters offering a $4,200 reward for John Paul's assassination.

The purpose of the Pope's visit is to defend orthodox church teachings before Holland's more than 5.6 million Catholics, whose freethinking clergy have been heavily influenced since Vatican II by Calvinist individualism and Protestant independence.

To papal advisers, the animosity with which the Pontiff will be received only underscores the need for the journey. John Paul, says one, "sincerely believes he can help promote reconciliation within the church."