WAYS of healing the split between the Dutch bishops form the main part of the proposals which have been sent to Rome in preparation for the special synod which is due to start on January 14.
The bishops' proposals are being drawn up into a preliminary report by Mgr J. Tomko, the secretary general of the synod of bishops, and Fr J. Lescrauwaet, the special secretary appointed for the January synod. The synod, which is the first of its kind, has been summoned by Pope John Paul. Well-informed sources in the Netherlands say that the main theme of the bishops' suggestions is collegiality both within their own conference and between them and Rome. They feel that the lack of unity among themselves is the root of the major problems that exist within the Dutch Church. The suggestions have not yet been published.
The preliminary report will be submitted to the Pope, after which Mgr Tomko and Fr Lescrauwaet will return to the Netherlands, probably some time next week. There they will lay the report before the Dutch bishops. Subsequently they will incorporate any comments into a final discussion document which will form the basis for the synod agenda in January. The document is expected to be finalised by midDecember and the bishops have told the Pope that they would like to publish the contents before the synod starts.
For some time the bishops' conference has been split between progressives and conservatives over the Church's changing role.