From our Netherlands correspondent
I N all the churches of the Netherlands — both Catholic and Protestant a joint pastoral letter was read last Sunday urging Christians to pray for the success of the forthcoming Geneva conference of Foreign Ministers.
After referring to the annual commemoration of those killed during the last war, and to the celebration last week of Queen Juliana's 50th birthday—"both of which have made us conscious again of the great value of living in peace and justice"— the pastoral says; " But in these days we are again oppressed by fear of war between nations. We shudder at the thought of nuclear energy as a means of power in the hands of governments and the consequent responsibility of authorities towards humanity.
"In the near future state leaders are setting themselves to a supreme effort in order to realise by joint consultations a community in which nations serve each other in a world in which conflicts seem to grow larger as distances grow smaller.
"The Churches of the Netherlands call therefore jointly on all whose minds are pre-occupied with the distress of the world to pray for the co-operation between nations that is so greatly needed. The Churches, though conscious of their divisions, will nevertheless cling to the unity they have in Christ. From this they derive the courage to call for repentance and prayer in this divided world.
" We should not be dominated by fear of the dangers of a new world war. Nor should we, prompted by this fear, confine ourselves to fighting the abuse of nuclear power by which all life on earth is on the verge of being destroyed, We should, each one of us personally, be directed to a spirit of solidarity among the nations and should contribute to this solidarity.
"God also reigns in the atomic age. In this era, too, the Gospel message of the death and resurrection of Christ tells us of His victory and domination. We may therefore together turn to the living God in our prayers that in His grace He may bring races and nations together and illuminate the governments who are responsible for a society in which nations live together in justice and peace."
Prayers after all Masses and services for the freedom of the Church, the reunification of Germany, and the peace of the world have been asked for by the Hierarchy of Western Germany in a joint pastoral letter read last week.