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Malta, Italy, Hungary
Malta: Msgr. Grech on IVF
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and “assisted procreation” are “morally unacceptable” to the Church, said the bishop of Gozo Msgr Mario Grech, in a homily during Mass to mark Our Lady of Sorrows. The Maltese Parliament is scheduled to debate new legislation on IVF in the coming weeks. There are three reasons - the bishop explained – against these methods. Firstly “the dignity of human life” whereby conception cannot be separate from “the act of married love”, then the dignity of the parents, especially the mother” and the “very high risk” to health involved in the process, before and after. Notably, IVF “is morally unacceptable”, the prelate said, since it is “a highly abortive technology”. He claimed that since 1978, when IVF was invented, “three million children were born as a result of medically assisted procreation and of these only 100,000 were born healthy. And what of the rest of the embryos?” The bishop underlined the “temptation” to “choose between healthy and weak embryos”, and “the ethical dilemma” of the world of true science on the destiny of “unclaimed frozen embryos”. “Every child conceived in laboratory” has “a right to life”, reiterated Msgr. Grech. Hence the bishop called upon politicians “Catholic politicians in particular” “not to promote the culture of death” when the law will be discussed in Parliament and avoid being “ethically absent”. “In our country – he concluded - we need a law which protects the embryos, and ensures that these are treated with full respect and prevent their becoming the object of manipulation or freezing”.
Italy: the TCR is not biased, it is for all
“This conference is highly appreciated as it addresses a set of crucial issues for the teaching of religion, and for the educative mission of the Church in our Country”, said Msgr. Mariano Crociata, Secretary General of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, celebrating on May 16 the Mass for participants in the national conference of diocesan directors and teachers of Catholic Religion (TCR) along with the deans of theological faculties and ISSR directors. “Teachers’ initial and permanent formation – he declared – remains a major requirement to ensure the effectiveness of an education called to provide a structured contribution to the learning process of the young generations”. This “primary task”, must be accompanied by “the commitment to undertake an attentive reflection aimed at keeping alive the reasons for the presence of the teaching of religion in public schools. It is an urgent task that springs from a debate, ongoing in Italy and in Europe, that we cannot afford overlooking”. In fact, from this debate “stem those proposals that risk overshadowing the identity and the value of confessional education, which doesn’t ignore our society’s pluralism nor does it limit its laicism, but rather provides an ongoing contribution rooted within the historical and cultural foundations of our national identity”. From this perspective, added Msgr. Crociata, “we should always be aware that we are not defending a partisan cause, rather, we are promoting a common good”. Msgr. Crociata thus invited the faithful to “retrace the source of our faith”. “We need idealistic and cultural motivations. And even more, we need spiritual resources for our path of faith”, added the prelate. The educational and formative service requested to you, the CEI secretary told participants, is “on the same wavelength of apostolic authenticity of Gospel proclamation. The courage of our faith should be conveyed in all the expressive forms we are offered. A time like today’s needs this courage in a special way, acknowledging the listeners of the Word of Christ, as well as the discrete seekers of the encounter with Him”.
Hungary: antisemitism contradicts humanism
“Christianity is not compatible with kindling of hatred against any religious community or ethnical group”, affirmed cardinal Péter Erdö, president of the Hungarian Catholic Bishops’ Conference, during the commemoration of victims of the Holocaust on 15 April in Budapest. He called up the main commandment of Jesus Christ to love our neighbours as ourselves, “obliging the Christians to love all people”. In this regard the cardinal mentioned the example of blessed Sára Sálkaházi, sister of Social service who was murdered and thrown into the waters of Danube for helping Jewish people during World War II. “Antisemitism contradicts humanism”, affirmed the president of the Bishops’ Conference, inviting all participants in the memorial service to unite in hope and condemn any kind of hatred, antisemitism and racism. “If we agree on this – not just theoretically but also in practice – we have chance. This way we will always be able to find common moral principles on the base of which we can build our life, country and future”, concluded cardinal Erdö. 16 April is the day of remembrance of the victims of the Holocaust in Hungary. It was on this day in 1944 that the setting up of the first ghettos began in the Trans-Carpathian region of the country. In the following months, 13 larger ghettos and waggon stations were created in Trans-Carpathia and in North-East Hungary, from which 437 thousand Jews were taken away.