Plea to Parliament
THE Central Mission Directorate at The Hague has made a plea to members of Holland's Parliament for financial support for the work of missionaries in social and economic development.
The directorate. which represents 10,000 Dutch missionaries. said in a letter sent recently to all members of Parliament that missionaries are active in education, medical care, land development, road building and housing. This work is now supported mostly by Dutch Catholics and it is becoming difficult to finance it, the letter said.
The letter asked for financial support for projects sponsored by bishops in mission areas and suggested that government officials of the developing country be consulted. No aid was asked for evangelizing activities.
The Dutch Catholic daily De Tijd said in an editorial that, while it favours such government aid, this aid most be carefully organised. The missions cannot allow government control, the paper added.
"What would have been the fate of the flourishing Dutch mission in Indonesia if this mission had been dependent to a great extent on aid from the Dutch Government? What would happen if political difficulties arise between the Netherlands arid an underdeveloped country where Dutch missionaries arc working?" the paper asked.
Dutch missionary societies have 4,529 priests, 3,780 Sisters and 1,260 Brothers. The totals include 14 doctors, 64 midwives and 348 registered nurses serving in 262 hospitals and 277 out-patient clinics.
Also. 100 priests teach in secondary schools and 1,000 Sisters and Brothers teach in primary schools. Altogether, the Dutch missionaries run 9,300 schools which serve more than 900,000 pupils.