(Sir Europe - Bratislava) - Academy of Canon Law in Brno (Czech republic), in cooperation with Catholic University in Lublin (Poland) open the first academic year of postgradual studies of Canon law. It will be composed of all legal sectors concerning the Church law, with possibility to focus particularly on the law of oriental Churches. Its aim is to provide professional help and education to the faithful working in ecclesiastical courts or performing activities associated with other disciplines of Canon law. The project is based on our persuasion that Canon law has an irreplaceable position in the life of the Church and plays the role described by pope Paul VI as ‘diacony of law, explains Mons Karel Orlita, president of the institution. According to his words, this service is embodied by the Code of Canon Law, thus becoming an instrument of growth of ecclesiastical community towards holiness in concrete dimensions of everyday life. The deadline for submission of applications is 24 August. For more information: www.akademie.biskupstvi.cz.
(Sir Europe - Bratislava) - The American cardinal and prefect of the Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signature, Raymond Leo Burke, will be visiting Slovakia from 19th to 1st August. Card. Burke will attend the 16th Canon Law Symposium in the city of Spisska Kapitula, where he will also give a lecture, then on 20th August he will visit the capital of Slovakia, Bratislava. Here, he will stop for a short prayer at the Monument to Unborn Children, then he will meet some political and service-sector leaders of Slovakia. Card. Burke is known for being a champion of the sacredness of life and human dignity, from conception to natural death. According to the cardinal, the forces that try to lead us away from the culture of death by denying the Christian roots of our culture are very strong, but we must keep constantly supporting all those who are committed to the fight for life and for the culture of life!.
In the Message, read by mgr. Pier Luigi Celata, former secretary of the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue who is visiting Japan over these days, the Pontiff greets the leaders that have been convened for the meeting, in the spirit of the 1986 historic meeting in Assisi promoted by John Paul II, and says he is confident that the work of the Summit and the Symposium studying the response of religious leaders to natural disasters will lead to greater solidarity and mutual help. Actually the Pontiffs mind went back to the earthquake and tsunami that hit the north-east of Japan last year, with harrowing consequences for the whole nation. It was heartening - Benedict XVI said - to learn of the effective role of religious leaders in offering hope and support, as well as counsel and solace, to all those suffering. The tragic event also shows how people of different beliefs can cooperate with one another for the good of the human person.
The commitment to the cause of peace by religious leaders is of the greatest importance. According to the Christian perspective, the love given to those who suffer is a reflection of the divine charity of God who so loved the world that he sent his only Son Jesus Christ. This was repeated by Benedict XVI in a Message to the Supreme Priest of the Buddhist temple of Mount Hiei, Kojun Handa, to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the Inter-Religious Meeting of prayer for peace in the world, held in Hieizan, on mount Hiei, near Kyoto.
(Sir Europe - Bratislava) - About 90 lectures and workshops, 13 cultural performances and 6,000 registered participants - this is the V National Youth Meeting, due to take place on 14-19 August in Zdar nad Sazavou, in numbers. Young people from whole Czech republic will listen to discourses on compatibility between Christianity and political involvement, role of faith in arts, safety on internet, they will learn how to speak in public or how to connect the world of fashion with Christian confession. We wanted to cover not only spiritual topics, but all those that influence contemporary society, like problem of economic crisis or modern slavery, explains Vojtech Jurásek, one of coordinators of the program. The event will also include a Family Pilgrimage planned for 18 August with 14 thematic journeys and estimated 9,000 participants. Dozens of young people register every day, says Jan Balík, director of the Youth section of the Czech bishops conference, expressing joy over the fact that the National Youth Meeting brings together so many young people wanting to share their faith. For more information: http://zdar2012.signaly.cz.
I ask Kofi Annan to resume his mission, we need him: this is the appeal that Gregorios III Laham, patriarch of Antioch of the Greek Melkites, makes through SIR to the UN mediator for Syria, who resigned from his appointment yesterday, because of the lack of support and cooperation from the international community and the fighting parties. We are very sad and sorry about such decision - the patriarch states -. We hope he can change his mind and continue his mission. In my opinion, Kofi Annan worked very well. We need all the help we can get to achieve reconciliation, a peaceful solution. According to the patriarch, Annans words placed emphasis on the difficulties of his appointment, which did not receive the help and cooperation that had been hoped for. Now, no one should shirk the responsibilities the current situation demands. On its part, the Church wants to be the carrier of hope. Thats why we are committed to prayer and to relieving and helping the population. On August 1st, we and our congregation started fasting, joining our Muslim brothers in their Ramadan. We pray for violence to come to an end, for solidarity to be brought back in, for all citizens to be friends. Together, we can rebuild a safe, renewed Syria.
While the role of education is entrusted to all of society - the message points out -, it is first and foremost, and especially, the work of the parents and, with them, of the families, the schools and universities, not to mention the people in charge of the religious, cultural, social, economic life and the media world: It is a beautiful, although hard, feat: helping young people discover and develop the skills the Maker entrusted them with and establish responsible human relations. The Vatican ministry urges the young Muslims and Christians who may wish to read this message to always cherish truth and freedom, so as to be the veritable heralds of justice and peace and the builders of a culture that respects every citizens rights and dignity. So he urges them to have the patience and determination it takes to attain such ideals, without ever resorting to ambiguous compromises, deceitful shortcuts or means that are disrespectful of human beings. Only those men and women who deeply believe in such needs can build societies in which justice and peace will come true. For some time, the celebration of ‘Id al-Fitr, which ends the Ramadan month, has been an opportunity for the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue to send its wishes to Muslims.
In the troubled world in which we live, teaching peace to the young becomes ever more important. The invitation to teach to young Christians and Muslims about justice and peace is contained in the Message for the End of Ramadan, written by the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue and published today. To be properly committed to it, one must understand the true nature of peace, that is not just about the absence of war nor about the balancing of opposing forces - reads the message, signed by cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council, and by its Secretary, archbishop Pier Luigi Celata -, but it also Gods gift and mans work, to be incessantly built. It is the fruit of justice and an effect of charity. It is important for believers to be always working within their communities: by practising compassion, solidarity, cooperation and fraternity, they can effectively help take up the big challenges of this time: harmonious growth, integral development, conflict prevention and conflict solution. (continued)
(Sir Europe - Brussels) - The presentation of the State of the Union by the president of the EU Commission, Barroso, and the outline of the 2013 budget by the presidency of the EU Council will be two of the items on the agenda of the first plenary session of the European Parliament after the summer holidays, in Strasbourg, from 10th to 13th September. One of the reports that should be more attentively listened to is the one called Voluntary, free tissue and cell donation by MEP Marina Yannakoudakis. In the meantime, the EU Parliament received a message from president Martin Schulz for the London Olympics: The Olympic truce dates back to the IX century before Christ. A tradition of ancient Greece that still exists. The Olympic Games are the target of many athletes, they go beyond any political borders, bringing together thousands of athletes and public from all over the world. The Assemblys website points out that some MEPs took part in the Olympic Games. Finnish MEP Sari Essayah used to be a track athlete, who won fourth place in Barcelona in 1992. Slovakian MEP Peter Sťastny raced for Czechoslovakia in Lake Placid in 1980 and for Slovakia in Lillehammer in 1994. While Theodoros Skylakakis, Greek, was coordinator for Athens Olympics in 2004. Pál Schmitt, deputy president of the EU Parliament (2009-2010), won three gold medals for fencing in Mexico City in 1968 and in Munich in 1972.
Opposing our commitment to the attempt to forget: this is the imperative voiced today by mgr. Heinz Josef Algermissen, bishop of Fulda and president of the organisation Pax Christi, in the run-up to the anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. In a release posted yesterday, mgr. Algermissen stated: In prayer and silence, lets honour the memory of the dead and the survivors of the bombings, and lets confirm their dignity with our promise never to forget them. Such remembrance day reminds us of the relevance of our responsibility for a nuclear disarmament policy, went on the bishop, who accused the political world and the military strategies to contribute to showing atomic weapons as mere deterring weapons. But the humanitarian catastrophes of Hiroshima and Nagasaki might happen again, warned Algermissen, who stated that any use of atomic weapons, whether intentionally or unexpectedly, massively and lastingly changes the climate, the environment and the basis for food. The victims of the bombings, he concluded, are still there, as a warning to mankind, to ban lethal weapons forever.
Declaring Edith Stein the co-patron saint of Europe today means placing on the horizon of the old continent a banner of respect, of tolerance, of acceptance that calls men and women to understand and accept each other, beyond any ethnical, cultural or religious difference, to form a truly fraternal society. With these words, on 1st October 1999 John Paul II canonised Benedicta Teresa of the Cross, born Edith Stein, co-patron saint of Europe. Along with St Bridget of Sweden and St Catherine of Siena, Edith Stein is called to stand for that holiness that is, for Europe, the secret of its past and the hope of its future. Edith Stein, who in Christianity rediscovered her Jewish roots, is, in John Paul IIs words, the example of a unity that is grounded on the universal moral law, engraved in every mans heart. Europeans - John Paul II writes - are called to leave behind the historical rivalries that have often made their Continent the scene of devastating wars. At the same time, they must work to lay the conditions to improve cohesion and cooperation among peoples. They are faced with the great challenge of building a culture and ethics of unity, without which any policy of unity is bound to fail, sooner or later.
Her loyalty to her people of Israel as an incessantly live chord all through her life, viewing Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah, Edith Stein did not believe, as many people had accused her, that she had betrayed her people, especially at the time tragedy was burdening and weighing heavily on all Jews. The figure of Edith Stein, on the seventieth anniversary of her death, is described by Cristiana Dobner, who, in a piece for Sir Europe (click here), speaks of an extremely lively and perceptive woman, who refused to escape and faced deportation with firm determination, for two reasons that innervate and pervade her life: the quest for the Truth and loyalty to her people. Born from a Jewish family in 1891, Edith Stein joined the Carmelite monastery of Cologne, where she became sister Benedicta Teresa of the Cross. She died in Auschwitz on 9th August 1942. John Paul II proclaimed her saint on 11th October 1998. Along with St Bridget of Sweden and St Catherine of Siena, she is the patron saint of Europe. (continued)
From 22nd to 26th August, Iasi, in Romania, will be hosting the VI Ordinary Assembly of IFCA (the International Forum of Catholic Action). The theme chosen for the event is Laymen of Catholic Action: ecclesial and social joint-responsibility. Romania is a founder of IFCA, so this countrys CA is one of the most important for Eastern European CAs: this is why it has been chosen to host the International Assembly. The goals of the Assembly 2012 are, generally speaking, a meeting of the CAs of the world, a moment of fraternity and friendship, an opportunity to share a common reflection on the Church and on the world, as well as on the identity of CA, the continental meeting of the participating countries, a review of the work of the Secretariat for 2012-2016. The purposes that more strictly concern the host country are the meeting with the Catholic Church and the ecumenical, social and cultural situation of Romania, all CAs learning about the Catholic Action of Romania, promoting eastwards participation of the neighbouring countries, encouraging the establishment of CAs in the dioceses of Romania that do not have one yet, increasing continental work in the European-Mediterranean area, with a special focus on Eastern Europe.
(Sir Europe - Bratislava) - A nation-wide pilgrimage of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC) to Rome will take place on 13-15 October 2012. The website of the UGCC in Italy published an address of apostolic visitator for Ukrainian Catholics in Italy and Spain, Dionisii Liakhovych, who invites the faithful to discover the Church in the center of Christianity, pray with the head of the UGCC Sviatoslav Shevchuk, greet Pope Benedict XVI and support the Ukrainian immigrants in Italy with prayers. The pilgrimage in the year of commemoration of the 120th anniversary of birth of patriarch Josif Slipyj, organised by the Synod of Bishops of the UGCC, will be dedicated to the consecration of the renewed Cathedral of St. Sophia in Rome. For more information: http://santa-sofia.org.