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Call to comments
(Under responsibility of Kerk Hardop)

The Dutch Dominicans have published, August 2007, a brochure entitled Church and Ministry, Towards a Church with a Future, and distributed it to all parishes in the Netherlands “as a contribution to a renewed and more profound debate” on church and ministry.

The Magister of the Dominican Order in Rome has manifested his disagreement on the arguments and way of proceeding and has imposed to send now, January 2008, a Response to all parishes in the Netherlands. The Magister has declared to welcome all reactions to his Response, including the ones that – partly – do not agree.

Given that the brochure of the Dutch Dominicans has been internationally distributed via internet this Dutch website will also disseminate in the same way the Answer of the Magister. We are convinced that the debate of two issues that are as key as church and ministry, has to involve the entire People of God.

For this reason we invite everyone who reads this call:

  • To read the brochure (Booklet) and the Response of the Magister 
  • To word her or his personal comments, as an individual or collectively in a group, in their own language
  • To send their comments to the Magister of the Dominicans (email: with a copy to the Provincial Board of the Dutch Dominicans (email: and to this website (email:

Further, we urge you to widely distribute this Call to comment among all lists or persons who feel concerned about the future of the church. For any additional information please do not hesitate to contact

The editor of
The website wishes to give a voice to the public debate of adult Catholics women and men who in the spirit of the Second Vatican Council are committed to a permanent renewal of the church as members of the church in their full right.

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Comments to the Answer of the Magister
(On top link to Comments in other languages)

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(6 March 2008)
I have read the report "Kerk en Ambt" of the Dutch Dominican Province and found it an honest Christian assessment of the way forward for the Catholic Church throughout the world, not just Holland. The response of the Dominican Generalate on the part of Herve Legrand is obscurantist in the extreme, and typical of those who have eyes but are terrified to see. I can only remind them that they will be compelled to face reality one day, and probably sooner than they estimate. Claiming to follow Jesus is a very grave responsibility, and requires actions rather than words. "By their fruits you shall know them", Jesus said. We had better start taking him seriously.

Patrick Cushley, London, UK.

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29 February 2008
Dear Father,

I have read, and reflected upon the text written by a group of Dominicans in Holland, and distributed to all parishes concerning the 'Eucharistic Famine' in the Church today; this text offered suggestions for the solution of this crisis. You, through Fr Legrand op indicated your own opinion on this text, and your opposition to it. Which was obviously your right. I have read Fr Legrand's text: I found it very abstract, and above all, to my great surprise, Fr Legrand did not seem to offer any suggestions as to how the present crisis could be solved.

And that is what frightens me: on the one hand, the Magisterium insists on the absolutely essential and central role of the Eucharist in Christian communities, in the Church. And at the same time, it does not seem to want to consider practical decisions as to how to solve the crisis. The laws which govern the celebration of the Eucharist are obviously Church laws; and having taugth the Scriptures,and in particular the Gospels for over 60 years, I cannot but think of Jesus' attitude to the Religious Institutions and Laws of his time: to Jesus, as you well know, people always had priority over Institutions and Laws. Why does the Church Institution remain absolutely silent in front of the present crisis? Why does it cling desperately to the Institutions and Laws that it has made over the centuries? Please, use the authority you have to give a voice to the millions of catholics who are deprived of the Eucharist because there are no male ordained priests to celebrate it? If the early Church had had the same attitude, there would not be any Christian communities today.

I pray the the Holy Spîrit may give you the light and courage that you need to stand up and speak out.

Pierre Simson M.Afr.

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(16 February 2008)
Dear Father Magister,

The letter of Father Legrand evoked in me feelings of sadness, disappointment and indignation. Being worried about the problem of the shortage of priests, the Dutch Dominicans wrote their booklet. In no way the critical answer of Professor Legrand administers justice to the intention of the writers, nor does it give an opening to discuss together in which way the problems could be solved. I read what someone said: “…the letter is an intellectualistic answer to a paper written out of pastoral concern…” and: “an answer from the past, not from the NOW”. 

We are rebuked with Church-laws and with sayings of people in the past, but do not hear any answers on the question of how we make sure that in future people can attend a Eucharistic service. I am just a simple believer, but am I wrong to think that laws which have been made by the Church centuries after the death of Christ, could be changed by that same Church?

Last week people have been asking me: “Why do you still get upset about what the Hierarchy says, you are a member of a living church, which tries to live and do what Christ did and said: ‘Do this in remembrance of me’.” I realise that God is greater than the Church and Him I serve. But even so it worries me that so many people can’t be bothered about the Church and become estranged from the Church. Do rulers know what is happening at the base?

Sometimes I wonder whether the Holy Spirit works in a – for us difficult to understand – way, to transform the different religions to a ‘may they all be one’…

The letter of Dr. H. Häring is very recognisable to me; I think many believers will assent to it. I do hope that you will organise a work-group which seriously studies this letter of Dr. Häring.

I pray to the Holy Spirit that He might guide you,

With kind regards,
(Mrs.) Chris de Leeuw, Netherlands

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(5 February 2008)
I'm very happy that de Nederlandse Dominicanen published their view on the Church of today. Their pleading Kerk en Ambt shows their courage and concern about the people of God. The top of the Roman Catholic Church's concern is the law (see the response by father Hervé Legrand of 7 January 2008, which is hardly to understand by a layman in the Dutch version).

How long will it last until the top of the R.C.-Church will recognise and make effective the wishes of Vaticanum II ?

I'm very disappointed about the treatment of the Dutch R.C.-Church by the top of my (how long yet) Church since the sixties of the former century.

Theo Thier, Wijchen, Netherlands

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(5 February 2008)
Open letter addressed to the bishops of France by the Association "We Are Church-France"

It is with joy that we have received the report of the Dutch Dominicans ´Kerk en Ambt´ (Church and Ministry). The situations described and the questions raised are in effect directly transferable to France.

The advanced age of priests and the lack of recruitment constitute a grave crisis. Like you we have seen our communities progressively deprived of the services of an ordained priest. As rank and file Christians we have the right to question you in freedom and respect: despite the numerous cries of alarm, have you not ignored the crisis and preferred to keep silent rather than displease Rome, leaving communities in turmoil and often without the Eucharist? Have you not perceived the positive side which we put to you to adapt to the new situation of the Church in a world which has changed?

We do not under-estimate the difficulties of your Episcopal responsibility. But we must advance. The great merit of the authors of the Dutch report is to have had the courage to go public. People are talking. The questions posed arouse debate and discussion: why do you not allow communities to democratically chose their leaders and the women and men who will preside at the Eucharist and the sacraments which they celebrate? Is it necessary to recruit them from among celibate men? What is the status of women? Is it necessary to give priority to this structure of priesthood contrary to the right of communities to the Eucharist? Is it not necessary to review the exercise of power in the Church?

The mess is immense. It is plain to all. As the French Dominican Herve Legrand said, commenting on the text of his Dutch brethren: " You must give credit to the Provincial authorities that their alarm-cry is justified as such... Now that the debate is launched, it is necessary to conduct it according to clear and adequate rules."

The request which we address to you is simple: that you put in place a major discussion within the wider Church community and that you stimulate the debate. Far from being a menace to the Church, it will turn out to be a true godsend from which it is bound to profit.

"When the Spirit of Truth comes to you , He will lead you to all truth."

Lucienne Gouguenheim, Secrétaire Générale de NSAE, France.

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(4 February 2008)
The Church in the Netherlands has been 'avant garde' for years. Thanks for spreading the word about your brochure ’Church and Ministry...towards a church with a future.’ I have forwarded it to my nicely suppressed list of friends who share my concern regarding the future of our church.
On Tuesday, our grossly punitive Archbishop will be re-enacting the Inquisition here on a dear Polish priest who refused to let him take over the parish that belongs to the Polish people here in St. Louis.  We will be holding a vigil. . .just saying the Rosary outside his office and hoping that the clouds will part and he will realize that prayer begins with PR, but if he'd pray before lashing out at good people, he wouldn't have to pay $100,000 to a PR person to clean up all his messes.
This Archbishop is famous for creating what we call "regional mortal sins."  He has demanded "public penance" from many people after he excommunicates them for things like: voting for a Democrat; being pro-choice; being for stem cell research etc. . . In the meantime, he continues to shuffle pedophile priests around the Archdiocese.  I'm thinking of marketing "hair shirts!"
I'm just reading:
Atruro Perez-Reverte's The Seville Communion (1996), a novel about the Vatican, Seville's archbishop, major banks, and property rights to a 3000-year-old church:
"....Our Holy Mother the Church, so Catholic, Apostolic,and Roman that it's ended up betraying its original purpose. In the Reformation it lost half of Europe, and in the eighteenth century it excommunicated Reason. A hundred years later, it lost its workers because they realized it was on the side of the masters and oppressors. And now, it's losing the young and the women. Do you know how this will end? With mice running around the pews."
With brilliant people like you, there's hope for the Church. . .but we all have to get up early in the morning and pray that the clouds will part and our hierarchy will see the light! 
Joan Kiburz, St. Louis, Missouri, USA

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