FROM A SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT "THE STUDENTS' parish of Utrecht has dropped its experiment of inter-celebration "for the time being" because of opposition by the Dutch bishops, the three Utrecht University Catholic chaplains said in a statement on Sunday.
Protestant chaplains celebrated the eucharist during the first three Sundays of Lent, but the students were told that this would not be continued.
The chaplains said they would issue another statement after consulta tion with the student community and with Catholic and Protestant chaplains in Holland's nine other university cities.
Meanwhile Bishop Theodore Zwartkruis of Haarlem has again insisted that the current "turmoil" among Dutch Catholics is a ground for sober optimism, not the reverse.
55 % AT MASS
The isolated sensation made news, the Bishop added, not the more important and widespread trends such as Holland's Mass attendance rate of 55 per cent. (This figure is unusually high by comparison with other, especially "Catholic" countries).
Bishop Zwartkruis was speaking in London last week to the Ecumenical Society of the Blessed Virgin Mary on ecumenism in Holland.
The new trends in Dutch Catholicism, he said, were common to other parts of the Church, but had come to the surface more quickly in Holland. Dutch people liked to think for themselves and to test their ideas by experiment.
In view of the growing secularisation of society, ecumenism was not a luxury but a vital need. In Holland, Catholics had held aloof from the movement before 1950. There had now been progress in talks with the Old Dutch Catholics (who brake with Rome 200 years ago).
The times were uncertain, he concluded, but the faith of the Church had never been so severely tested as in the dark days between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection.