AFTER almost two years of discussion, the Vatican has insisted publicly that two Dutch bishops immediately withdraw a catechism now being used in schools in their dioceses.
Dr. Federico Alessandrini, the Vatican press officer, told a press conference that the catechism in question was "found wanting in many points" by the Vatican's Doctrinal Congregation and by the Congregation of the Clergy, which has been assigned the task of reviewing catechetical material used in teaching the Faith. The Vatican's ban on the catechism and its instructions to the Bishops of 's-HertogenbosCh and Breda to withdraw it immediately have been public knowledge since September, but Dr. Alessandrini's press conference was the first time the matter was aired publicly at the Vatican.
Critics of the catechism say that it treats many traditional beliefs as legends, that it stresses the view that the Evangelists were not writing history but wanted to bear witness to their faith and that of the Christian community, and that it does not cite the privileged position of the Blessed Virgin. Its supporters say that it is an attempt to present the faith in terms which young people can understand. The catechism, they say, emphasises the need to understand the various languages, or systems of ideas, in which men express their religious views and feelings.
Dr. Alessandrini said that because of a number of recent news stories about the discussions and dispute over the catechism "I am authorised to state clearly that the two offices of the Roman Curia have insisted on the immediate
withdrawal of the catechism."