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Portugal, England and Wales, Ireland
Portugal: need for more homilies
During the press conference held on June 20 in Fatima, in the framework of the Pastoral Days of the episcopate, the Patriarch of Lisbon, cardinal Policarpo, in his capacities as President of the Portuguese Bishops’ Conference (CEP), said: “Anthropological drifts present in the Western world must be denounced and corrected by the Catholic Church”. For the patriarch, “Western society will end up being a victim of what it considers as values”. He added: “We have to make a major effort, so that our complaints are not unheard, but that instead they are a proclamation for the future, in line with the great social changes called by the universal Church in its historical Assembly held fifty years ago”. The pastoral days that ended on the evening of June 21, are a time for study and reflection by the bishops on the inheritance of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). Answering questions from journalists on the topical relevance of the Council, the Cardinal highlighted its importance as a “major cultural event”, pointing out that “the Church has eternal values in which she firmly believes. Many Council reflections have been transmitted to the cultural realm, thus interiorized by Catholics and lay people sensitive to the social challenges launched at the time”. To conclude, Msgr. Policarpo pointed out the liturgical reform introduced by the Council, with the adoption of vulgar tongues, and called for greater realism in evangelical preaching. “In this field a lot of progress is needed. Some of our Sunday homilies still don’t give the attention the content of the message and its recipients deserve”.
England and Wales: towards the Year of the Faith
In the past week the parishes of England and Wales we received free material to prepare for a Catholic celebration of faith in the whole world. The coming October 11 Benedict XVI will open the Year of Faith, which will close in the solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the universe, on November 24 2013. The beginning of the Year coincides with three significant events in the life of the Catholic Church: the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, the 20th anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Synod of Bishops in Rome on evangelization. The Department for Evangelization and Catechesis of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales will coordinate preparations for the year at national level. Bishop Kieran Conry, president of the same Department, said: “the Year provides a wonderful occasion of renewal for the Catholic community in England and Wales, to celebrate and share the joy of our faith in Jesus Christ”. Each parish will receive five different booklets addressed to the parishes, catechists, and/or parish councils, to support preparatory works. The booklets contain a set of key themes, resources and initiatives in support of catechesis and evangelization. Further copies are available upon request of the Bishops’ Conference (Mission Desk Home). The same Bishops’ Conference has a dedicated website: http://www.yearoffaith.org.uk[>>].
Ireland: the bishops on Rio + 20
The United Nations Conference on sustainable development Rio + 20 is ongoing in Brazil. For this reason Irish Catholic bishops underlined the need for world leaders to re-examine the current understanding of economic growth. The prelates’ opened their reflection with a statement by pope Benedict XVI, from the encyclical letter of 2009 “Caritas in veritate”: “Growth indeed took place, and it continues to be a positive factor that lifted millions of people from a state of poverty - recently many Countries have had the possibility of becoming effective protagonists of international politics. But it should be acknowledged that economic development has been and continues to be overburdened by distortions and by tragic problems, further worsened by the ongoing crisis”. The bishops thus hope that “this summit may translate into progress towards the development of a new model of economic growth, capable of addressing surging inequalities and related instability and injustice; based on the respect of the dignity of every human person, in fair relations with others and with the natural environment”.