Saturday the 27th of February

...to the ends of the earth

“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Dutch Church relief tempered by people’s support for Wilders, says editor of Dutch Catholic weekly

The editor of the highest-circulation Dutch Catholic weekly said a “general sense of relief” in the Church after 15th March elections was tempered by knowledge that many Catholics had supported the losing candidate.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s centre-right People’s Party claimed victory with 21 per cent of votes, over 13 per cent gained by the nationalist Party for Freedom, headed by Geert Wilders, which has advocated banning the Quran and closing mosques and Islamic schools.

“Most people expected a populist rising here, so there’s satisfaction Dutch politics didn’t radicalise further,” said Anton De Wit, editor of Katholiek Nieuwsblad. “But there’s still anxiety about the political divisions here, which extend to the Church as well. Many Catholics share Wilders’ concerns and believe they should be taken seriously.

“The whole populist movement still has a strong popular following, both vocal and silent, and each European country has its own dynamic,” he told Catholic News Service. “The sentiments…haven’t magically disappeared with these elections.”

Picture: Geert Wilders, head of the nationalist Party for Freedom, attends a meeting in The Hague, Netherlands on 16th March. Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s centre-right People’s Party claimed victory with 21 per cent of votes, over 13 per cent gained by the nationalist Party for Freedom in voting on 15th March. The Party for Freedom campaigned for banning the Quran and closing mosques and Islamic schools. (CNS photo/Jerry Lapen, EPA).