A MARRIED priest defied Church authorities, with the aquiescence or the majority of his congregation, by celebrating Mass in Amsterdam last Sunday. Fr. Huub Oosterhuis S.J. was married six months ago.
In spite of a ban put on him by Dutch bishops, Fr. Oosterhuts. aged 36, gave communion in the packed chapel of the St. Ignace Jesuit College, Haarlem. Seven people walked out in protest.
Before the Mass, Lambert Quant, a member of the parish's executive, read a statement condemning mandatory celibacy for priests. He said that the parish had voted in favour of Oosterhuis celebrating Mass, and took full responsibility.
Bishop Zwartkruis of Haarlem said that the Dutch hierarchy "very much deplored" the action.
A third congress of radical priests, to follow those at Chur in 1968 and Rome last year, is taking place in Amsterdam this week.
Organised by the Dutch Catholic movement Septuagint, it is being attended by about 400 priests. laymen and some protestant pastors. Some 250 of them are from abroad, with poor priests from Africa, Latin America and elsewhere whose expenses have been met by their European colleagues.
The theme of the congress is "The Church in Society", and it hopes to show the way from preoccupation with internal and ecumenical church problems to effective action in the world. It comes at a time of renewed tension in Holland on the issue of compulsory celibacy for priests.
It is reported that some parishes have quietly accepted married priests, while polls taken in three parishes have shown that the congregations would he happy to do so A similar poll is being taken in the Amsterdam students' parish where an affirmative result is very likely.