John Paul II Sees Hope for Church in Netherlands

New Thirst for Spirituality Detected

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VATICAN CITY, MARCH 15, 2004 ( John Paul II sees opportunity for the Church in the Netherlands, as seen in a new interest in religious questions.

The Pope expressed this when he met with Dutch bishops at the close of their five-yearly visit to Rome.

Although he noted the growing secularization of the country in recent decades, the Holy Father said: «Today you see a new interest in religious questions in your compatriots and a new thirst for spirituality that is expressed by some, in particular, the young generations.» He made his comments after seeing a report prepared by the Dutch bishops.

John Paul II asked the prelates to take these questions into account in order to «propose clear spiritual paths to the people of God.»

«I would like all the children of the Church, especially the lay faithful, to be truly concerned about witnessing their faith, taking the light of the Gospel to the different sectors of social life,» the Pope said.

«May they show the grandeur of marriage and the beauty of the family in a society tempted to give up definitive commitments in favor of more ephemeral models of union,» he said.

The Holy Father invited the laity to obtain «the necessary human and Christian formation to participate in the debates that animate Dutch society in a spirit of dialogue, awakening an interest to discover the richness of the Christian view on man and his demanding call to overcome all forms of egoism in order to live according to the Gospel.»

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