Pope John Paul II, in a stern lecture to Dutch youth on sexuality, today said the Roman Catholic church will never relax its opposition to premarital sex, abortion and homosexuality.
On the last full day of his troubled tour to the Netherlands, the pontiff chose the only open-air Mass of the trip, before 45,000 worshipers massed at an airfield just outside Maastricht, as a forum to reiterate church opposition to divorce and artificial birth control.
Then he traveled to Amersfoort, near the capital of Amsterdam, to speak to Dutch youth at a Catholic college.
Answering the youths’ written questions submitted in advance, the Pope said:
“You have told me that you experience the church as an institution which simply issues rules and regulations. You think that it erects too many barriers, particularly regarding sexuality, the structure of the church and the place of women in the church.”
But the Bible, John Paul said, “shows us a demanding Christ” who could never be “indulgent on marital love, abortion, sexual relations before or outside marriage or homosexual relations.”
He said the words of the Apostles “are clear and strict.