Page 1, 20th November 1970

20th November 1970
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People: God
Locations: Oxford


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ECUMENISM has progres sed in Holland through a dialogue centring on Mariology between Catholics and members of the C'alvinist Dutch Reformed Church. said Bishop Zwartkruis of Haarlem in Oxford last week.

The Bishop told an interdenominational meeting at St. Mary's University Church that the Blessed Virgin had been in the past a sign of 'bitter division. for controversy regarding her led straight to the great theological divide on grace. free will and human instrumentality in the execution of God's designs. all related to her relationship with the Redeemer and with her particular mediation.

Bishop Zwartkruis said that Dutch Catholics had shown from their side of the dialogue that the, absolute sovereignty of God the Creator and the sole saving power of Christ, far from 'being diminished, were highlighted by a theology that acknowledged the freely responsive work of man as an active reality.

TERMINOLOGY From the Protestant side Catholics had been brought to discern the importance of terminology which, apart from its exactitude in the context of Catholic theology, was safe from misinterpretation with regard to Mary, and therefore to fundamental Catholic dogma. The terms "co-redemptrix" and "mediatrix" were cases in point.

Protestants had also made an important contribution, said the Bishop, by puttingtheir finger on Mary's faith as a scriptural and theological basis of her place in dogma and Christian living.

On Catholic Marian devo

tion, Bishop Zwartkruis said that the inevitable clouds of dust stirred up in the hustle of renewal had sometimes settled on the statue of Our Lady. A search was going on "to find new ways of expressing love towards the Mother of God." The Dutch bishops had written a joint pastoral on Our Lady.

On the general situation of the Church in Holland, Bishop Zwartkruis said the bishops had been working for some time on a pastoral on prayer— a matter of obviously fundamental importance in this period of renewal.

PUBLICITY GLARE The Church in Holland had come under a particularly fierce glare of publicity, which always picked out the excesses. It had been the bishops' delicate task to put the brakes on them.

It was said in Holland that the Germans found the ideas, the 'French put them into words, and the Dutch took action.

That was why in Holland the full range of pastoral councils and the national synod recommended by Vatican II were created forthwith. In evitably, said Bishop Zwartkruis, many over-enthusiastic people were quick to be in on them while the more staid were slumbering.

But the latter had now been jolted by a series of shocks and were coming forward to make their contribution. This, along with the experience of the past three years, would result in a greater balance.

The meeting was held under the auspices of the Ecumenical Society of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which will publish the bishop's address as one of their pamphlets.

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