Romania, Switzerland, Poland

Romania: Churches in dialogue”Strong in the faith, living not on ineffective nostalgia, shaped through persecution, mature but having to be increasingly aware of the signs of the times”. It is the Romania’s Greek-Catholic Church in the words of the Prefect of the Congregation of Eastern Churches cardinal Leonardo Sandri, who concluded his visit to Romania on May 10 in Cluj. In a meeting with the members of the Synod of the major archbishopric the cardinal urged to delve into “the theological and juridical lines of the future spiritual and pastoral strategies, along with Gospel pastoral” and to step up ecumenical dialogue with the Orthodox Church. As relates to the internal life of the Greek-Catholic Church, His Eminence reiterated the “importance of spiritual discernment in order to have a responsible clergy that is devoted to the Gospel”. Finally, the Prefect confirmed that contacts between the Secretary of State and the Italian and Spanish Bishops’ Conferences are under way for a possible authoritative and hierarchical authoritative figure of reference”, for spiritual assistance to Rumenian faithful abroad. During his trip Cardinal Sandri visited Sighetu Marmatiei where he participated in the annual pilgrimage in memory of the bishops martyrs who rest in the Cemetery of the Poor, near the Sighet prison, now serving as a museum. The Prefect was received by Patriarch Daniel of the Romanian Orthodox Church. “The Romanian patriarch – states a communiqué of the Romanian bishops’ Conference – reiterated the Romanian Orthodox Church’ intention to resume the dialogue with the Greek-Catholic Church to jointly identify solutions to patrimonial questions”. Over the past years the dialogue between the Catholic and the Orthodox Churches in Romania was made more difficult by the question of the restitution of the places of worship, previously owned by the Greek-Catholic Church and which in 1948, a governmental decree established that they be handed over to the Orthodox Church. In 2005 Romania’s Orthodox Church unilaterally interrupted the dialogue with the Greek-Catholic Church in the Mixed Dialogue Commission because the Greek-Catholic faithful turned to the Court claiming the restitution of their property. “Patriarch Daniel – states the communiqué issued after the meeting – assured that the Holy Synod, scheduled for next July 6-8 will discuss the proposal of the resumption of dialogue with Romania’s Greek-Catholic Church along with the invitation of Pope Benedict XVI to Romania. Cardinal Sandri conveyed a message of greetings of the Holy Father and his wishes of a positive outcome in Romanian-Orthodox and Catholic relations”. Switzerland: the bishops in Syria and LebanonA delegation of the “Islam” working group of the Swiss Bishops’ Conference left May 8 for Syria and Lebanon led by the bishop of Lugano, Msgr. Pier Giacomo Grampa. The purpose of the delegation is to step up the dialogue with Muslim religious communities and transmit a sign of solidarity to Christians in the region. Until May 15 the representatives of the working group will meet with the leaders of the Islamic and Muslim communities for an intercultural and inter-religious confrontation. The delegation was invited by Samir Nassar, archbishop of the Maronite Church in Damascus, who was in Switzerland a year ago for a meeting with the “Islam” working group in Freiburg. On that occasion Nassar illustrated the situation of inter-religious dialogue and the coexistence of different religious communities in Syria. The meetings in the Middle East envisaged the debate on relations with the Islamic communities in Switzerland. The “Islam” working group was set up in 2001. Its activities focus on Christian-Islamic dialogue. The group regularly issues a series of instructions for people working in the field of the pastoral care of the parishes.Poland: Msgr. Kowalczyk new Primate”I want to service the Polish Church”, declared Msgr. Jozef Kowalczyk, new Primate of Poland, 72, former apostolic nuncio in Warsaw, elevated to the post on Saturday May 6. He replaces Msgr. Henryk Muszynski (77) who led the Polish Church for five months and whose resignations were accepted due to age limits. The new Primate, appointed two months before the presidential elections, called sooner than scheduled for the plane crash in Smolensk, underlined that the Church is not a political party, and his appointment will not bring “revolutionary changes” in Poland. In his opinion the Country “needs to put into practice the evangelical Magisterium transmitted by John Paul II”. “We must translate it in our daily lives”, he underlined, in the belief that “the Poles are able to do it”. Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz Metropolitan in Krakow, is sure that to the Polish Church “the new Primate will bring a lot of experience, enthusiasm, courage in its development” since “the appointment, although symbolical, aggregates the entire Church and represents its unity”.

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