Globalization and technological development raise new challenges also for the defenders of human life. Globalization leads to the reiteration that the protection of the unborn child must not be limited to local initiatives, Piotr Mazurkievicz (Poland) wrote in SIR Europes editorial (click here). The evident ‘democratic deficit of the Union - Mazurkievicz stressed, speaking of stem cell research - may be addressed with a new tool called ‘European Citizens Initiative which is known in many European countries and has already been adopted to propose legislation to strengthen the protection of human life. In fact, according to Mazurkievicz, the European Citizens Initiative One of Us provides the opportunity to propose to the European Commission greater protection of human life by cutting access to European funding to bodies and organizations that carry out activities that pose a threat to human life. It is a concrete way to grant European citizens the opportunity to assume a share of responsibility on how the EU spends money that belongs to all of its citizens.
(SIR Europe - Brussels) - Two million 300 thousand employees, an added value of 100 billion a year: two figures representing coastal and sea tourism, the most important sector in the maritime industry. The next European Maritime Day (20 May) is dedicated to the situation of such sector and its possible developments; four days of meetings, debates, exhibitions and seminars are scheduled at Valletta. On 19 and 22 May, the Capital of Malta is the centre of debate on Continental level, including the multiple aspects of maritime and coast tourism, in the same way as the themes connected to the blue economy, defence of the sea, connectivity and transport relating to coastal regions, and voyages. Experts from all over Europe will debate - says te EU Commission - on the way to promote the tourism industry and to exploit their potentialities not only as a sector of sustainable growth, but also as fundamental driving force for the economy, broadly speaking. The fact that the sector was particularly resistant in the latest difficult years is very important; and goes on giving people working opportunities in coast regions often isolated, usually with few alternatives in other economic sectors. However, the seasonal character and the lack of innovative concepts prevent this sector from fully realising its potential.
(SIR Europe - Brussels) - Communication media ownership concentration is a threat for the right to information. Polish MEP Piotr Borys is the writer of one of the two resolutions to be debated in Strasburg on 20 May, at the opening of the plenary session of the EU Parliament, to be voted at the Parliament on the following day. The same text points out the need to foster access to online contents all over Europe, including audiovisual means education, and asks for measures to improve the protection of minors. In the same session, a resolution draft is debated at the Parliament, according to which national laws modifications in communication media and their impact on possible government interferences in the media are monitored on European level every year. This text asks also for the strengthening of the scope of application of the directive on audiovisual services to grant full respect of the fundamental right to freedom of expression and information, communication means freedom, and information pluralism. Renate Weber, Romania MEP, who signed the second resolution, stated: A mechanism of monitoring and communication on full respect of communication means freedom and pluralism all over the Union must become a regular exercise of democracy.
The bishops go on to urge political forces and candidates to run positive electoral campaigns, without resorting to insults, denigration or humiliation of other people and their families, as has happened in the past few years on the part of individuals or groups. Moreover, there is a strong need to guarantee a fair election process in all of its phases. Sadly, we have recently witnessed a sort of manipulation of this process by political parties. The bishops also stress the importance of knowing the outcome of the voting, its acceptance by all parties and the contribution to a process as much democratic as possible, so as to have an effective and legitimate Government and Parliament. We should not forget that during this past term we were not able to obtain the status of candidate country from the European Union. The bishops see this as a failure for the future of Albania is an European future. Which is why the success of this process is key to the future of the country. Finally the bishops remind the faithful to vote in accordance with their conscience for those programmes which promote the highest human values: the inviolable right to life, the family and morality, the cornerstone of a healthy society.
A call to take part in the elections so as to actively contribute to the public life of the country. It was addressed by the Albanian bishops to Catholics and to all men and women of good will, in a message issued on the occasion of the general elections that are going to be held in the country on 23 June. In the document the bishops do not fail to acknowledge the significant achievements made in the past. However - they observe - we cannot but stress some negative phenomena that might severely affect the voting process in these elections. By mentioning them, we would like to remind everyone of them so that the election process may take place in the best way possible. In the first place, vote buying and selling. In many regions of Albania - the bishops denounce - votes are bought, sold or obtained under duress. Dear brethren, if you sell your vote you sell your freedom. According to the bishops, in addition to vote buying, another serious issue is vote under duress, which is mainly linked to the promise of a job: This is a clear violation of the rights of the person and of workers who support their families through their work. (continued)
Unlike the epoch of Emperor Constantine, in our epoch it is particularly important to question ourselves on the subject of religious freedom: said Cardinal Péter Erdő, president of the Council of European Bishops Conferences (CCEE), at the study seminar promoted together with the Ecumenical Patriarchate on Religious freedom today. On opening works this morning, the Cardinal pointed out the situation of Christians in Europe, above all. The first element of the current culture, so present in Europe - he said - is practical rejection of God, often regarded as something abstract and distant. In this context, it is almost natural to regard religion and the relationship with God as subjective opinions, aspects which may not have a social character but must be relegated to the private sphere of the individual. In this way, the powers of the State, too - or the supranational powers - are conceived as supreme authorities, rejecting the obligation of conscience - private or community conscience - to make reference to the Absolute in their actions.
(Sir Europe - Bratislava) - This year is the third time that the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC) participates in conducting a National Marriage Week - the event aimed at spreading family values in society. The celebrations began on Mothers Day and will last until 19 May. The UGCC Commission on Matters of the Family has developed proposals on conducting a Family Week in the parishes. According to its head, Rev. Bohdan Tymchyshyn, during this time, it is recommended to parish priests and representatives of pro-family organizations and families that they conduct celebratory events and activities like vespers to the Virgin Mary, sermons on family topics, presentation of pro-life and pro-family movies, thematic lessons or seminars, in other words, that they conduct activities that focus the attention of the faithful and the community on the importance of marriage and the family for the Church and for society, and on the strengthening of traditional family values. According to representatives of pro-family movements in Ukraine, the initiative wants to contribute to the development of the culture of married life and to lowering the divorce rate in the country. For more information: http://rodyna.ugcc.org.ua/?p=688.