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Portugal, Hungary, Czech Republic
Portugal: stepping up liturgical potentials
In reference to the themes discussed during the 38th National Meeting of liturgical pastoral service, held last week in Fatima, Msgr. José Cordeiro, in his capacities as member of the Episcopal Commission for Liturgy and Spirituality, said that “the Church must improve her own celebrations, trying to exploit the potentials offered by celebrative services”. “I think that the liturgy is the greatest treasure owned by the Church, but also one that is mostly dissipated”, added the bishop of the diocese of Bragança-Miranda: “It is important that our liturgical services appear more and more beautiful, simple and serious, and above all, liturgy must not remain confined to worship, but rather enter concrete life and be transformed in culture, in the Gospel lived in daily life”. Msgr. Cordeiro pointed out that in many cases Mass fails to involve the faithful, being perceived as the mere fulfillment of a precept. He said that “the change in model should start with priests, with their awareness that they are officiating Mass in the name of Christ and the Church, and not for themselves”. “Only though their example people will feel they are being called to gather around the altar of the Word and Sacrament, and different communities will be able to feel part of one faith: a faith that comes from a God who is above the heart and the intelligence of man”, concluded the Bishop of Bragança-Miranda: “The liturgy is not what most people think, a set of rules and rituals. Instead, it is the celebration of faith in the mystery of Jesus Christ, it is the Bible transformed in prayer”.
Hungary: report on the freedom of religion
The US State Department criticizes parts of Hungary’s church law and strengthening of the position of radical nationalist Jobbik party in its international report on religious freedom in 2011 presented July 30. In terms of the church law, the report denounces rules of registration for religious organizations, as well as the requirement of parliament’s consent for recognition, claiming that it could “politicize” the process. There were reports of societal abuses or discrimination based on religious affiliation, belief, or practice, and the report praises prominent societal leaders for “taking positive steps to promote religious freedom”. Generally, the report states that “the government did not demonstrate a trend toward either improvement or deterioration in respect for and protection of the right to religious freedom”. The survey also noted an increasing popularity of Jobbik, labelling it as an openly anti-Semitic party. Jewish organizations expressed serious concern over tolerance for anti-Semitic remarks in public discourse. As a reaction to this statement, on July 31 the government’s communications office reiterated the government’s commitment to taking action against anti-Semitism. Hungarian government commissioner Andras Levente Gal informed Hannah Rosenthal, special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism, during her recent visit to Budapest that Hungary would set up a monitoring system which would provide an authentic picture about anti-Semitic and anti-minority phenomena as well as the social approach and institutional reactions to them. According to the website www.politics.hu[>>], the Hungarian government welcomed the report on freedom of religion recognising Hungary’s “constitution and other laws and policies protecting religious freedom”.
Czech Republic: beatification of 14 Franciscan martyrs
The Holy See has officially confirmed 13 October as the date for the beatification of 14 Franciscan martyrs of Prague, murdered in February 1611 during the invasion of the Passau army, when the anger of defenders of the city turned against several monasteries and culminated in a cruel bloodshed. The beatification ceremony in the Cathedral of St. Vitus will be presided over by cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. The beginning of the process of beatification of Bedrich Bachstein and his companions dates back to the 17th century. Archaeological research of their tomb in the chapel of the Monastery of Our Lady of Snows was launched on 30 June this year and two weeks later their remains were uncovered and submitted for examination to an expert commission consisting of anthropologists and theologians nominated by cardinal Dominik Duka, archbishop of Prague, with aim to “shed more light on historical events and the circumstances of the death of the martyrs”.