France: a website on the social doctrine of the Church
“Help the Church to adopt the proper position within society”: Msgr. Jean-Luc Brunin, bishop of Havre and president of the Family and Society Council of the French Bishops Conference, explained the objective of the site “Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church” (http://www.discours-social-catholique.fr/
), just launched by the French Bishops Conference with CERAS (Social Research and Action Centre of the Society of Jesus). “A double obstacle has to be avoided - he said - on the one hand, religious withdrawal implying rejection of facing burning questions, limiting the social reflection of the Church to a simple religious review of events”; and on the other hand, “the will to impose society the ecclesial approach to questions, in a confrontation of powers, and without looking for dialogue”. Therefore, went on Msgr. Brunin, the objective of the initiative is “helping the Church in France to pay its remarkable contribution at the core of the debates” developing “in a society marked by economic, financial, social and moral crisis”. In the new site, “everybody can rely, in an easy and documented way, on the great treasure of the social teaching of the Church”, through “both thematic and chronologic” access; and the bishop concluded: “It is a precious instrument to help Christians and local Churches” to commit themselves to “the new evangelisation”.Germany: the Church and religious tourism
The Church and tourism can be “good partners”, jointly declared Nikolaus Schneider, president of the Council of the German Evangelical Church (EKD) and Msgr. Norbert Trelle, vice-president of the German Bishops’ Conference (DBK), upon the first visit to the Tourism Fair of the capital (LTB). In their address at the “Forum of the Churches”, a round table traditionally held during the event organized by tourist organizations of the two Churches, Rev Schneider and Msgr. Trelle highlighted the ongoing cooperation with tourist organizations, that grew with the years, “which often pursue the same objectives”: “Religious sites represent a market segment that is witnessing major growth”, and tourist activity can serve as an opportunity “to transmit our Christian message”. There are over 40.000 ecclesiastical buildings in Germany, representing important tourist destinations. “Germany is a Country with religious tourism. Churches are conveyors of culture, areas of reflection and encounter with God and cultural memory”: these are important aspects for a modern world which “often offers not enough space or time to peace”. “Also the growing interest for religious and spiritual destinations – concluded Msgr. Trelle – signals a longing for guidance and for meaning. The Churches interpret these wishes and seek to meet the requests with various proposals”. Austria: Bishops’ Conference plenary opens
The Austrian Bishops’ Conference will gather in plenary meeting in Tainach, Carinthia, next March 19-23. The news was released by the Catholic news agency Kathpress, underlining that the main items on the agenda include preparations for the Year of Faith called by Benedict XVI, that will begin October 11 2012. In the Assembly chaired by Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, president of the Austrian Bishops’ Conference, the bishops will also discuss the outcome of the elections of the parish councils scheduled to take place next March 18, as referred by Peter Schipka, general secretary of the Conference. The bishops are also involved in the project of a prayer and chants book in German, drawn up in conjunction with the German Bishops’ Conference and the diocese of Bolzano-Brixen. “As customary”, Schipka said, “we will discuss topical issues involving the Church and society”. On March 20 will be celebrated a Mass in the two languages spoken in Carinthia: German and Slovenian, which all faithful are invited to attend. The celebration will be presided over by the Archbishop of Salzburg Msgr. Alois Kothgasser. The homily will be delivered by cardinal Schönborn. Turkey: a book on the diplomatic relations with the Holy See
On the occasion of the 50th anniversary since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Holy See and the Republic of Turkey, Bahçeºehir University in Istanbul released the luxury edition of the volume “Documents of the Vatican Secrete Archives: towards diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Turkey”. The volume, that will be presented at Bahçeºehir University on April 13 by Rinaldo Marmara, spokesperson of the Turkish Bishops’ Conference, publishes for the first time Vatican Secret Archive documents regarding relations between the two States. “The initiator of these relations – Marmara explains in the foreword – was undoubtedly Msgr. Roncalli, who, during his permanence in Istanbul as apostolic delegate interweaved fraternity and friendship bonds between these two very different worlds”. “We hope that the volume – the author writes – may shed light on the process leading to the establishment of diplomatic relations between these two States prior to 1960, and that it will also attract the attention of researchers on the Vatican Secrete Archive, a source that hasn’t been used yet but which is fundamental for the history of Turkey”.