Parishioners furious at 'Orange priest's' suspicion

17th July 2010, Comments 0 comments


Parishioners of the Church of St Victor in Obdam, a town in the northern Netherlands, are said to be furious at the suspension of their 'Orange priest'.

Dutch daily newspaper reported on Saturday that Paul Vlaar had been suspended by Bishop Punt of the Amsterdam-Haarlem diocese. The bishop was apparently furious with Father Vlaar after he conducted a Mass last Sunday, the day of the FIFA World Cup final, with a definite football aura.

Dressed in an orange chasuble - the sleeveless outer garment worn by priests celebrating Mass - and in a church filled with orange flags, Father Vlaar asked for solidarity and team spirit.

Video pictures of the 'Orange Mass' travelled all over the world and aroused displeasure in many Roman Catholics. Bishop Punt reproached the priest for his actions, saying that he had, "in word and deed, paid insufficient respect to the sanctity of the Eucharist".

Local parishioners did their best to buck up the priest. "Child abuse is covered up, but a priest who threatens to become too popular is suspended without mercy," said one of them. Other well-wishers have set up a Facebook page to show their support for the suspended cleric.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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