As for the main topics of the Synod - reconciliation, justice and peace - the bishop recalled that the Church proclaims the Gospel of reconciliation wherever she, for Divine Providence, lives and carries out her activity, bearing witness to it by the example of her members. In this way, she makes a significant contribution to the reconciliation of men and women of good will in the entire society. The ‘Africae munus - he continued - will provide major guidelines for the activity of individual Churches and of the Church of Africa over the next years. Such guidelines will be primarily focused on the commitment to reconciliation, justice and peace in the light of the Word of God, by virtue of the Sacraments and following the Magisteriums instructions. The Exhortation highlights several problems and a number of challenges to the Church in Africa. However, it always maintains a positive approach, full of hope for the Church and for Africa.
In the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, with the specific contribution of his Petrine charism, Benedict XVI presents the outcome of the Synodal work, re-proposing the Gospel of reconciliation to the Church of Africa, taking into account the current social and ecclesial situation of the continent. In an interview with SIR, Mgr. Nikola Eterovic, General Secretary of the Synod of Bishops, disclosed some of the content of the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Africae munus, which Benedict XVI will deliver during his apostolic trip to Benin (18-20 November). The first part of the document - Mgr Eterovic explained - deals with the pillars of the Churchs mission in Africa for the cause of reconciliation, justice and peace. The second part is about the contribution to reconciliation, a contribution that all members of the People of God are called to make within the Church and in society, in a common commitment to justice and peace. In Africa, a continent faced with several problems, the Church shows the way to Christ, which, by the power of the Spirit, ensures its unity in the diversity of the gifts it received for the common good. The pastors, then, must convert the instructions of the Exhortation into operational guidelines in each individual Church. (continued)
Ten years after its adoption, the Budapest Convention is still the only accepted international treaty to protect freedom, security and human rights online. Achievements and challenges will be discussed at the annual Conference of the Council of Europe on Cybercrime, on 21 and 22 November in Strasbourg, which will be followed by a special meeting on 23 November to mark the 10th anniversary of the Convention. Establishing effective rules in a place everybody joins but nobody owns is a very demanding task, but rules are necessary to maximise freedom and minimise risks when navigating cyberspace, said CoE Secretary General Thorbjřrn Jagland. Themes to be discussed in Strasburg by experts from all over the world, representing governments, law enforcement and the Internet industry, include: effective measures against the sexual exploitation and abuse of children; cybercrime strategies: key elements and good practices; high-tech crime units; capacity building: results of technical cooperation projects. Key speakers at the conference include Robert McLelland, Attorney General of Australia; Howard Schmidt, US White House Cybersecurity Coordinator; and James Brokenshire, UK Home Office Minister for Crime and Security.
The European Law Institute will help build a European legal culture, said Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the European Commission and EU Justice Commissioner, commenting on the beginning of work of the Vienna-based Institute. The focus of the first working meeting was on the proposal to create a Common European Sales Law. The Institute, founded in June 2011, aims to improve legal consistency in Europe by providing practical advice to policymakers and authorities and to further develop EU law. It is an independent non-profit organization that is expected to make an important contribution to the EUs wider goal of building a European area of law and justice. Commissioner Reding added: More consistency between Europes different legal systems will help strengthen mutual trust and our citizens confidence in the EUs legal system, strengthening confidence in the European rule of law, which is the cement binding the European Union together. It will make the European area of justice concrete and real so that people can exercise their rights and take advantage of the Single Markets opportunities. The Institute will engage in projects that will have concrete results for the daily lives of European citizens and legal practitioners.
Undistinguished heroes is the name of the project organized by the Nations Memory Institute and Confederation of political prisoners of Slovakia, aiming to keep alive the memory of victims of the communist regime before 1989, especially among young people. Students of secondary schools all over the country were searching for information about destinies and witnesses of people who had suffered and had been persecuted because of their attitudes, opinions or religious belief. Results of their search are being presented on the conference on 16-18 November in Bratislava, under the patronage of the prime minister of Slovak republic, Iveta Radicova. 149 young people have mapped 59 stories of persecuted students, bishop of Greek Catholic Church, peasant, artist, man dragged away to gulag and many more. Fight of all these people for freedom has played a significant role on our way out of the jailhouse of totalitarian regime, says Frantisek Neupauer from the Nations Memory Institute, adding that each story holds memories of hunger, humiliation and barbarous treatment in communist lagers. Also present at the conference is a prisoner of conscience from Belarus, Vital Rymasheuski - opposition candidate for presidential election in 2010 who was sentenced to jail after participation in peaceful demonstration against the results of election.
According to the bishops, such challenges demand key steps, which, if taken, may be promises of hope for the region. In their final release, the bishops mention four steps that they believe are essential. The first one is moving from the fear of expressing their religion to the peaceful assertion of their own beliefs of faith, without disrespecting other peoples opinions and through a debate with no more taboos about the importance of promoting all freedoms, including freedom of conscience. Another key challenge for all of North Africa is moving from a social life inhabited by fear and the risk of freedom to a commitment to enable all the nation to live in democracy and in the respect of human dignity. Another points they raised is women speaking up and taking responsibility, as they demand to be respected more, in their dignity and in their rights. Finally, the bishops give voice to the cry of the young, who demand for themselves a good quality education, leading to a real professional future. The Christian communities want to give their contribution to the promotion of the values which they perfectly identify with. They feel responsible for encouraging that longing for freedom, citizenship and openness that has been clearly expressed by the Arab Spring: they are trying to do it by supporting them in their understanding and by giving evidence of their own hope, even amidst the real difficulties they find.
Challenges and promises of the Arab Spring as the focus of the meeting that the Bishops Conference of the North African Region (Cerna) held in Tunis from 13th to 16th November. It was attended by the bishops, vicars and apostolic administrators of the region. From Libya to Algeria and Tunisia. There was also mgr. Domenico Mogavero, bishop of Mazara del Vallo, Italy, who, on behalf of a European land that is close to Maghreb, will host the meeting next year (17-22 November 2012). The bishops - as stated in a release issued yesterday - extensively shared the experiences they have lived in this time of deep change in their own countries. The apostolic vicars to Libya spoke of the Libyan revolution and the way it was experienced by the Christian community, and gave evidence of the joy of the population at feeling free and of the urgent need, now, for national reconciliation. They spoke about the latest election in Tunisia, which expressed the longing for a responsible citizenship on the part of the regions population. Generally speaking, the bishops emphasised, everywhere in Maghreb, freedom of speech and the will to structure social and political life into an increasing respect of different opinions. And they add: three key challenges have been brought to the fore in these countries: the religious challenge, the political challenge, and the socio-economic challenge. (continued)
I am shocked and appalled: this was said by mgr. Robert Zollitsch, president of the German Bishops Conference (Dbk), in a release published last night about a series of racist-based murders committed by a neo-Nazi terrorist group in Germany over the last ten years. The recent discovery of some DVDs, in which the group claims responsibility for nine murders of Turkish and Greek citizens, shocked the country, because the murderers had been known to the intelligence service since 1997. Such murders are the expression of pure contempt for human beings, for all our cohabitation stands for, stated mgr. Zollitsch, who ensured immigrants of the support of the Catholic Church. In addition, the archbishop emphasised the need to question ourselves, publicly and in the political world, about any negligence and on how to improve the protection of such rights in the future, and not to forget to raise awareness, especially of young people. Finally, mgr. Zollitsch urged everyone to be more careful, because indifference and ignorance may become allies to inhumanity.
(Strasbourg) - Preserving the open, neutral character of the Internet and making sure Internet service providers do not restrict the citizens access to contents, applications or services. These are two key points of the resolution that will be voted on today during the plenary meeting of the European Parliament, aiming to create a free, safe web space. The text, submitted by the German MEP Herbert Reul, has already been unanimously voted on by the Industry Committee of the EU Parliament. The resolution asks that the provisions of the EU telecommunication legislation, concerning the neutrality of the Internet, be properly enforced and adhered to. During todays session, the European Parliament will also deal with some breaches of human rights, plus maritime and fishing policies: they will also discuss the allocation of 40 million euros for the preservation of the resources of the European seas. Yesterday, the European Parliament passed a legislation about the European Heritage Seal, which as from 2013 may be awarded to those places that are most symbolic of European history and integration. In particular, attention will be paid to across-border sites, due to their special symbolism for our common history. Then, the European Parliament gave the go-ahead to the act for the reform of the EU Legislation about the deregulation of railway services, with a view to reducing the gap between them (infrastructure, services, costs) and other forms of transport.
The yearly meeting of the leaders of the Permanent Councils of the Bishops Conferences of Slovakia and Hungary, under the guidance of the president of the Hungarian Church, card. Péter Erdo, took place in the last few days. The Slovakian delegation was led by Stanislav Zvolenský, archbishop of Bratislava. The two delegations shared their experiences about the new evangelisation in the pastoral care of minorities (specially the Roma one) as well as in social and charitable work. The people attending the meeting also discussed liturgical issues, the situation of the Catholic Church in society and its legal status in Hungary and in the Republic of Slovakia. The last meeting of the Permanent Councils of the Bishops Conferences of the two countries was held in Bratislava in April 2010. The highlight in the development of good mutual relations was the celebration of Mass in Esztergom in 2006. Another highlight of such partnership are the meetings of prayer for the believers of the two countries, which are held every year in the Hungarian sanctuary of Mátraverebély-Szentkút. Mgr. Robert Bezák, archbishop of Trnava (Slovakia), officiated Mass in such sanctuary on 25th June this year.