On hearing about Hans Wijngaards’ new book, ‘Ten Commandments for Church Reform’, I immediately ordered it and, on receiving it, I could hardly put it down ( I love to read autobiographies! ) and I was so grateful and delighted to read his personal memoirs from his early life to the present day and especially his own account of his amazing loving service as an active MHM evangelizer in so many creative ways, not to mention his years as professor of S. Scripture in St. John’s Major Seminary in Hyderabad, India, for which many seminarians who became priests were deeply grateful. But his expertise and services extended well beyond the walls of the seminary. His scholarly and very practical books have helped me in my pastoral and Formation ministries. I have gratefully learnt more from reading this latest book of his.
I thank God for Hans’ graced-life and his priestly and theological contribution to the Church, our missionary Society and so many people through his varied creative initiatives. What amazing energy he has always had! He is like a vine that produces the best fruit when it grows in the most challenging soil! His roots were such for, (something I did not know), his early years were spent struggling as a POW in Indonesia. I have benefited from his other books and videos, shared many of his convictions and I thank God that he had the courage, after prayerful discernment ( which I witnessed when I was a member of the General Council at that time) to follow the Voice of Conscience and continue to write and speak publicly about the conclusions he had come to through his thorough professional research as a Scriptural scholar and Theologian. He thus had to make the difficult decision to ask the Pope to release him from the public practice of his priesthood, even though, as is eminently clear from this autobiography , he remains a missionary priest at heart and is deeply concerned about the Church he loves: a church that is always in need of reform.
I highly recommend this book especially to those who may perhaps have had some questions about what brought Hans, after 39 years of faithful priestly service, six of which were as Vicar General of our MHM Society, to make a decision to apply to Rome for a dispensation from public priestly ministry. Let them read these memoirs which may also, as I discovered as a bonus, update one’s theological knowledge, besides encouraged us to pray for Hans as he continues his theological research and evangelizing ministry.
John Taylor MHM