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Portugal, Austria, Poland
Portugal: communication and silence of the media
The media’s silence and omissions represent the main theme of the National Social Communication Days promoted by the Portuguese Church from September 27-28. Presenting the initiative, that welcomes the message launched by Benedict XVI, canonical João Aguiar, director of the national Secretariat, underlined that the Pope called upon media professionals to “reflect on the silence, and on the word as a path for evangelization”, and highlighted the need to “balance these two communicative moments in order to reach an authentic dialogue and a profound union between people”. The Portuguese priest underlined that the discussed themes perfectly comply with the reality that is produced in the Country, in a situation that questions the pressures that can be exerted on the press, since “every time that the freedom of expression has been denied human dignity and democracy have been called into question”. Also the presidents of the Episcopal Commissions for Social Communications in Spain and Portugal, who convened in Fatima in the month of June, conveyed their “preoccupation for the risks of the conditioning of public opinion exerted by current economic, ideological, and political factors”. “The economic crisis, that caused a significant number of media professionals to lose their job, hampers the entire communicative process, and leads to the related limitation of the public’s right to learn the truth”, reiterated in his conclusive remarks João Aguiar: “The pre-eminent role that is given to ratings must not constitute the primary criteria of informative programs, while it’s necessary to bear in mind people’s needs, without sacrificing the truth and the common good”.
Austria: Caritas against food speculation in the stock market
Caritas Austria has started an online petition against food speculation. The news was released by the Catholic News Agency Kathpress, underlining that the aim is to involve the Austrian Federal Government to make commitments at national level to limit food speculation on the stock exchange. "We want clear and transparent rules that prevent speculators’ profit from causing the hunger of the poor”, said Christoph Schweifer, Caritas coordinator for foreign aid, in a statement released on July 24. “Along with the drought in grain-growing areas of the U.S. and Russia, financial speculation on food products are among the main causes of the fluctuation and the increase in food prices “and therefore also of hunger”, Schweifer said. “This has fatal consequences on the families who live in developing countries, who have to spend more than half of their incomes on food”. To sign the online petition, log on www.stopp-spekulation.at[>>].
Poland: congress on the new evangelization
On Saturday 28th July, the Polish city of Kostrzyn will be hosting the 1st International Congress on the new evangelisation. Among the panel speakers figure Msgr. Rino Fisichella, President of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelisation, Msgr. Jozef Michalik, President of the Polish Bishops Conference, and card. Kazimierz Nycz, archbishop of Warsaw. 1,200 people from different movements and associations dealing with evangelisation will take part in the event. Lots of debates will take stock of the different scopes of evangelising work and the current situation of the Polish Church, not least from a sociological perspective. The Kostrzyn Congress promises to be a great event in a whole series of initiative. Special importance is attached to the devotees’ summer pilgrimages to Czestochowa. “In this way, we want to respond to the appeal of John Paul II, who invited us to take part in the work of the new evangelisation”, said card. Stanislaw Dziwisz, as he announced the pilgrimage of over 10 thousand citizens from Cracow to the famous Marian sanctuary. “Through faith, men and women of all ages, whose names are written in the book of pilgrimage - he concluded -, said it is beautiful to follow the Lord Jesus Christ where we are called to be Christian witnesses”.