Despite the fact that there are sufficient resources to satisfy the food requirements of the entire planet, persistent economic, social and political obstacles hinder the possibility of meeting those requirements: the Holy See Press Office revealed this in a statement released today summarising todays meeting between Benedict XVI and José Graziano da Silva, director general of the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO). During the cordial discussions - the statement reads - great appreciation was expressed for the commitment shown by the Holy See and the Catholic Church to combating hunger and poverty, especially in Africa, and to remedying the worrying situation of world food security. The hope was also expressed that the rural sector may once again take a leading role in development strategies, that sustainable models of agricultural production and food consumption be promoted, and that greater equity and efficiency be guaranteed in the administration of the food system. José Graziano da Silva subsequently went on to meet with Card. Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State, and Mgr. Dominique Mamberti, Secretary for Relations with States.
Also during the meeting - the release goes on - a draft document was submitted proposing a Personal Prelature as the most appropriate instrument for any future canonical recognition of the Society. The release issued today states that the situation of the other three bishops of the Society of St. Pius X will be dealt with separately and singularly. At the end of the meeting, the release says, the hope was expressed that this additional opportunity for reflection would also contribute to reaching full communion between the Society of St. Pius X and the Apostolic See.
A personal prelature with a view to any recognition of the Society of St. Pius X (Lefebvrians). This is the proposition made yesterday in a draft document to mgr. Bernard Fellay, superior general of the Society of St. Pius X, during a meeting with card. William Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and president of the Pontifical Commission ‘Ecclesia Dei‘. This was revealed today by a release from the Vatican Newsroom, which takes stock of yesterdays meeting. The purpose of the meeting, attended by mgr. Luis Ladaria, secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, mgr. Guido Pozzo, secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, and one of mgr. Fellays assistants, was - the release says - to present the Holy See‘s evaluation of the text submitted in April by the Society of St. Pius X in response to the Doctrinal Preamble which the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith had presented to the Society on 14 September 2011. The subsequent discussion offered an opportunity to provide the appropriate explanations and clarifications. For his part, Bishop Fellay illustrated the current situation of the Society of St. Pius X and promised to make his response known within a reasonable lapse of time. (continued)
(Sir Europe - Bratislava) - Preparations for the celebration of the Year of Ss. Cyril and Methodius; activities of the Council for the Slovaks living abroad; and preparations for the National Youth Meeting: those are the topics planned for the 72nd plenary session of the Bishops Conference of Slovakia, due to take place on 18-20 June. The prelates will approve a pastoral letter on the occasion of the opening of the Year of Ss. Cyril and Methodius, and discuss the statute of the Association of Catholic Schools of Slovakia and of the Commission for Catechesis and Education of the Bishops Conference. Attention will also focus on the information about the pilgrimage of the merciful image of the Virgin Mary in the dioceses of the country. The program will include a meeting with the presidents of the conferences of major superiors of men and women religious in Slovakia.
(Sir Europe - Strasbourg) - The parliamentary session is closing with some recommendations the MEPs sent to the EU Commission and the member states about work and economy. With a resolution endorsed by about two thirds of the available votes, Parliament emphasises the need for investments that will create jobs and growth, especially in green economy and new technology, funds to help the most vulnerable social classes (by strengthening welfare and health services), the establishment of minimum wages to face the problem of widespread poverty and social dumping. In addition, the text favours the option to create a European guarantee for the young, as defined by French MEP and rapporteur Pervenche Berès, to bring the young closer to the work world by involving and supporting small- and medium-sized businesses. Berès repeated the figures of the crisis, with 6 million jobs lost in less than four years, while, to abide by the commitments undertaken by the 27 member states under the Europe 2020 strategy, over 17 million jobs should be created in eight years time. Parliament asks the national governments to make efforts to produce a European investment package by the end of the year to push Europe out of the crisis.
(Sir Europe - Brussels) - Offering citizens an opportunity to learn two foreign languages since childhood, in addition to their native language; creating a more open society that promotes dialogue between different communities and people; strengthening the role of languages as a way to improve professional opportunities and competitiveness. These are the three main goals of the multilingualism policy adopted by the EU, which is based on article 22 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights. Currently, 23 official languages are spoken in the EU, which has launched several plans for the promotion and study of languages. In 2012, its language policy should be reviewed. In this respect, the EU Commission is completing a survey, which will be disclosed on 21st June, about students language skills. The survey will provide a rough, large-scale overview of language skills in Europe, which may be helpful for example for the national educational systems. The results are based on tests taken by 54 thousand 14-15-year-old students in 14 countries (Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, France, Greece, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, United Kingdom, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden). In each country - the EU Commission reveals -, the tests measured three skills - writing and understanding of read and listened languages - in two of the most widely-taught languages: English, French, German, Italian and Spanish.
Besides defining the main terms and its field of application, the Agreement also sets the rules, the procedures and the instruments to ensure the recognition of higher education studies. It improves the legal framework for mutual relations between the Holy See and the Republic of Lithuania, already regulated by three Agreements singed on 2000: on co-operation in education and culture; concerning juridical aspects of the relations between the Catholic Church and the State; and concerning the pastoral care of Catholics serving in the Army. This Agreement - the statement concludes - will come into force upon notification from the Parties that they have completed their internal legal procedures.
An Agreement on the Recognition of Qualifications Concerning Higher Education was signed between the Republic of Lithuania and the Holy See in the Green Hall of the Presidential Palace in Vilnius on Friday, 8 June, the Holy See Press Office reported today. The Agreement was signed by Mgr. Luigi Bonazzi, apostolic nuncio to Lithuania, representing the Holy See, and by Audronius Aubalis, minister of foreign affairs, representing Lithuania. The signing of the Agreement is in line with the Convention of Lisbon on the same issue (1997), which is aimed among others at encouraging the mutual recognition of diplomas and periods of study. This recognition - the statement reads - is also aimed at encouraging student mobility and the free movement of higher education students in Europe. Furthermore, the Agreement fits in with the goals of the Bologna Process, at the European level, which has created a Common European Higher Education Area (EHEA), involving 47 European countries, including the Holy See, with the support of several international organisations. (continued)
Protecting the civil population in Syria: this is the priority, according to mgr. Stephan Ackermann, president of the Justitia et Pax Commission of the German Bishops Conference (Dbk). Interviewed yesterday by the German Catholic news agency Kna, mgr. Ackermann said that in Syria the situation is tragic, and the option of humanitarian action should be seriously considered by setting up some protected areas: a measure, this one, which however would be inadvisable unless such action is part of a widely-supported political plan. The bishop ruled out any religious reasons behind the violence in Syria, although he assumes that, should such situation escalate, the Christian minority too, as such, might be put under pressure and threatened again. As to the media coverage of the Syrian conflict, mgr. Ackermann found that, along with outrage, the images and news are also triggering a growing feeling of frustration, which is not the best for finding a sustainable long-term policy. To ward off the danger of exhaustion from media overexposure, he concluded, it is our responsibility to make an appeal to protect Syrias civil population.
(Sir Europe - Bratislava) - I pray for countries, teams, players, fans, so that the true passion for the game and this international arena become an occasion for a good meeting, for a positive emotional relief from stress and tension, said the rector of the Ukrainian Catholic University, Borys Gudziak, expressing satisfaction with the atmosphere that is prevailing in Lviv during Euro 2012. In the last few years, the city both subconsciously and consciously prepared for this event and it is very open to its residents and guests, affirms Gudziak hoping that the championship will offer people not only good matches but also a sense of closeness, true unity and joy. As he said in an interview for the Religious Information Service of Ukraine, creativity is stimulated when people from different cultures and with different mentalities meet. Why do millions of people love sports? Because it is an easy way to explain the metaphor of human life - personal and collective competition for excellence, reflects the rector, expressing optimism in regard to the advancement of the Ukraines national team.