France: a woman in the CEF secretariat”
Corinne Boilley, mother of three, is the new Assistant Secretary of the French Bishops’ Conference. She was appointed by the permanent CEF Council with the task of following economic, juridical and social issues for a three-year mandate, starting September 1st 2012. Corinne Boiley, who holds a university degree from the Institute for Political Sciences in Paris, and a Master in Private Law, has served as the director for human resources of the Bishops’ Conference since 2007. Her appointment follows that of other two women. The bishops nominated Sister Nathalie Becquart as the chair of the National Service for the Evangelization of the Youth and Vocations and Monique Buajard as the director of the National Family and Society Service.
Slovakia: the bishops on assisted fertilization
The Sub-Commission for Bioethics of the Bishops’ Conference of Slovakia published a statement regarding the “donation” of human sex cells and their commercial use, reacting to various activities of domestic and foreign companies that appeal to young people to become “voluntary donors” of gametes (sperms and eggs) and offer methods of assisted reproduction based on the use of these gametes. “Our efforts are aimed to present the clear position of the Church in order to help the right orientation of the faithful”, explains Mons. Stefan Secka, head of the Sub-Commission. Experts in the area of medicine, psychology and moral theology point to the fact that procedures of artificial fertilization try to substitute the relation between marital love and bearing of life, thus “contradicting procreation as an expression of unity of spouses”. Donors of gametes bear joint liability for morally unacceptable procedures and manipulation by providing their gametes. According to the statement, “any ethical judgement on the problem must be based on the respect for human dignity and natural rights of the conceived child, as well as on a true evaluation of the essence and mission of marriage”.
Ireland: a “national Day of atonement”
The bishops of Ireland support the idea of a National Day of Atonement in which the Church, the institutions and all of Irish civil society may plead forgiveness for abuse suffered by former residents of state-funded, church-run institutions, a spokesman of the bishops told CNS, commenting on the proposal conveyed past Sunday by an abuse survivor, Christopher Heaphy. Speaking about his personal experience during a Mass celebrated on the occasion of the third anniversary of the publication of the report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse - the Ryan Report - Mr. Heapy, 67, underlined the need for such a day "where all of the perpetrators ask the victims’ forgiveness, especially of those who are in trauma. Amongst them figures not only the Church, he said, but also the state and Irish people who turned a “blind eye" to what was going on in these schools. Heaphy pointed out that the Church should do more to help the victims. “The church has a moral duty to apologize, to ask for forgiveness and seek healing from those hurt by the actions of another member” he said, and conveyed his hope that liturgies of atonement, reparation, and reconciliation, which are appropriately and sensitively prepared, will contribute toward the healing of survivors. With this spirit the Irish Church is preparing for next June’s International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin. To underline the firm determination to continue along the difficult path of healing, renewal and reparation proposed two years ago by Pope Benedict XVI, during the opening ceremony the “Healing Stones” for abuse survivors will be inaugurated.
England: the “Flame” reached London
Sean White, a 17-year-old pupil of the Catholic School of Swansea, was part of the delegation of five students from Great Britain that traveled last week to Athens where they received the Olympic Flame. The English Catholic Church is strongly committed in the Olympic Games with a set of collateral projects for the competitions that are being carried out in close cooperation with all the Christian Churches and the religious faiths in the country. The Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in London and the British Council gave the student the important role of carrying the EU flag in the ceremony held at the Panathinaiko Stadium in Athens. Sean returned to London on the 'Firefly', flight BA2012, to bring the Olympic torch to the United Kingdom from the Greek capital. Passengers included Princess Anne, Lord Sebastian Coe, Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, Hugh Robertson, the Minister of Sport and David Beckham.