Fortuyn´s Murder Shows "Individualist Soul" of Nation, Says Cardinal

Adrianus Simonis Comments on Assassination of Dutch Politician

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MILAN, Italy, MAY 8, 2002 ( Dutch Cardinal Adrianus Simonis sees the assassination of extreme-right politician Pim Fortuyn as a symptom of a deep problem within the Netherlands.

“The individualist soul of my country has surfaced,” the archbishop of Utrecht said. “Everyone here thinks that his ideas and opinions, must not take others into consideration. Freedom is private. It is mine.”

“We live in this ´sick´ context,” the cardinal told the Italian newspaper Avvenire. “We have forgotten that we are social beings with social obligations.”

According to Cardinal Simonis, there is an explanation for the murder. “Violence in the Western world has surpassed security levels,” he said. “There is frightening criminality on the streets. Exasperated individualism and violence generate the greatest evil: lack of respect for life.”

He stressed, however, that one must not be carried away by some media reports about the death of Fortuyn, an anti-immigrant champion. The archbishop believes that Dutch youths are neither xenophobic nor racist.

“I have a different perception of Dutch youth,” the cardinal explained. “Although those who come to a bishop are, necessarily, chosen youth, they are believers who love the Church. Contacts are less frequent with the others, but to speak of a racist and xenophobic youth is exaggerated.”

Time magazine published a very flattering report on the Netherlands. But that did not reassure Cardinal Simonis.

“How can a country be described as a model where there is very permissive legislation on the subject of abortion, where euthanasia has been introduced, made to appear as a right, and where marriage between individuals of the same sex is licit?” the cardinal asked.

“These are the consequences of this individualist freedom,” he warned. “Dutch society is too permissive, beyond the limits of what is allowed.”

Cardinal Simonis ended by expressing the hope that Fortuyn´s assassination will “be an occasion to truly reflect on all that is happening in the Netherlands.”

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