From Desmond O'Grady in Rome
TENSIONS still remain between the Dutch Church and the Vatican despite all the efforts of the special synod which ended in Rome yesterday after running live days longer than anticipated.
The unity Vatican press bulletins claimed that the synod had succeeded in its aim of strengthening unity int the Dutch Church, particularly among its seven bishops.
But even they provided glimpses of outstanding disagreements both among the bishops and in their relations with the Roman Curia.
When two of the five progressive bishops, in a Vatican press conference, said they endorsed Pope John Paul's opposition in making priestly celibacy optional, it seemed the progressives had succumbed to Vatican pressure. But insiders reported that the Dutch progressives tenaciously defended their pastoral practices.
It was probably unreal to think that the Dutch Church's problems could be resolved in two weeks.
The 29 synod participants did not even agree on the diagnosis of the Dutch situation so they could not be unanimous about therapy.
But apparently the synodal exchanges were frank and the bishops and the Curial cardinals must now know each other better.
The participants voted on means to apply the synodal decision, to ensure their acceptance by the Doctrinal Congregation -and improve collaboration between the Dutch bishops and their contacts with the Holy See.
"The Synod is fine," the Pope responded when questioned about its progress at a dinner in a Roman Ecclesiastical college last week, But we have to see what happens when the Dutch bishops return home". The next act will be played out in Holland.