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Poland: Caritas Europe Conference
“The Church helps everyone regardless of their faith and their political views”, underlined cardinal Robert Sarah, president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum on the occasion of the Conference of Caritas Europe that closed in Warsaw on May 12, which was dedicated to the phenomenon of migrations. Cardinal Sarah underlined that Catholic schools and hospitals are open to everyone, since “in helping non-Catholics it is not our intention to impose Catholicism. Rather, we want to spread the love of God and ensure that all people know that God is love”. Cardinal Sarah underlined the recent contribution of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum to exiles in Syria, amounting to over 100 thousand dollars. “We want to show that God is near those who suffer”. Speaking of the identity of Caritas Europe (a network of 46 national Caritas) His Eminence highlighted the importance of volunteer work in tackling challenges linked to the ongoing economic and social crisis in Europe. “The ongoing crisis doesn’t involve only the economy. It also affects the cultural and anthropological realms”. Caritas activity “should thus focus on the support to the integral development of the human person”. We have to ensure that “before poverty and desperation Caritas is not confined to financial and material help but that instead its efforts are based on the personal encounter with people in difficult situations that need to recover human dignity”. The president of Caritas Europe, Erny Gillen, pointed out that “poverty isn’t an abstract term but a sad reality, which some may not be able to overcome”. The conference, dedicated to the almost 32 million migrants in the European Continent (Eurostat figures), namely 6.4% of the entire European population, analysed some aspects of this phenomenon, such as migrants’ families and children, who aren’t always granted the right to be with their parents or enjoy appropriate education. Proposals include the possibility to ensure a minimum income to migrants, to ensure family maintenance. A session focused on the question of “euro-orphans”, namely, children whose parents work abroad, which involves over 400 thousand children in Poland. The political realm has to migrants who work legally in the EU with “the necessary conditions for family reconciliation, enabling them to enjoy a normal life”. According to the director of Caritas Poland, Msgr. Marian Subocz, the phenomenon of migrations will increase along with the worsening of the crisis. Msgr. Subocz said he hopes that the exchange of experiences of the members of Caritas Europe may better represent the interests of migrants before European institutions.
COMECE-CEC: sustainable economic order
On May 23 a conference titled “The Contribution of Spirituality and Ethics: Towards a Sustainable Economic Order” will take place in Brussels. To the theme of economy the bishops of the European Union had already dedicated the document (presented in Strasbourg past January 12) on “European Community of Solidarity and Responsibility. A Statement of the COMECE bishops on the EU Treaty objective of a Competitive Social Market Economy”, representing a far-reached stand aimed at creating a future of solidarity and responsibility. The conference of May 23rd is jointly promoted by COMECE and CEC, the Council of European Churches, representing also the Orthodox, and Protestant Churches. “COMECE and CEC – states the presentation – wish to bring a profound reflection on the European Integration process based on the search for the common good and human dignity, in the conviction that the roots of the financial and economical crisis are not purely to be found in the economical sphere. Ethics and spirituality, or the lack thereof, have their say in this crisis too, according to Europe’s Churches”. To delve into this reflection the two European bodies promoted the conference whose keynote speeches will be delivered by Msgr. André-Joseph Léonard, Archbishop of Brussels-Malines, and by Edy Korthals Altes, Ambassdor Emeritus of the Kingdom of Holland. The event will be chaired by Mgr. Adrianus van Luyn, Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Rotterdam (Netherlands) and former president of COMECE (until March). The current president is Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Archbishop of Munich-Freising in Bavaria. The debate will be followed by questions from 2 young people: Ms Kristine Jansone (of EWCE- East West Council for Education, which promotes international students exchange) and Ms Marie-Caroline Leroux (of WYA World Youth Alliance, an organization promoting solidarity and respect for human rights).