Dutch parishioners mass behind orange priest

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The Roman Catholic priest who celebrated an ‘orange’ mass on the day before the Netherlands national colour: orange played in the World Cup final is still causing a stir.

Father Paul Vlaar donned orange vestments and decked his church out in orange flags and footballs. During the special mass, he prayed for solidarity and team spirit. Video footage of the service was seen around the world and he was suspended by his local bishop for failing to pay enough respect to the sanctity of the Eucharist.

However, the parishioners of Saint Victor’s in Obdam, a town north of Amsterdam, want their popular parish priest back. They say his sermons are inspiring and that he has a special bond with young people. A dedicated Hyves page has been set up for people to show their support for him. The number of messages backing Fr Vlaar rose from 600 on Saturday morning to 2,600 on Monday morning.

Critics of the Catholic Church’s severity towards the cleric have also been featured on commercial Dutch television. Many are drawing unsatisfactory parallels between the punishment metered out to Fr Vlaar and the Church’s lax approach to paedophile priests.



© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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