Along the roads

The Church's decision two years from the first Social Weeks

The small Catholic Church of Moldova led by the bishop of Chisinau, Monsignor Anton Cosa, is small and lively. It counts some 20 thousand faithful gathered in 18 parishes of Latin rite and 1 parish of Eastern rite (Greek-Catholic) assisted by 26 priests, 2 deacons, 3 brothers and 36 nuns. Several ecclesial movements and 6 charity institutions contribute with numerous social projects. After two years since the first Social Weeks of Catholics in Moldova SIR Europe interviewed Monsignor Cesare Lodeserto, Episcopal vicar for Social Pastoral Care. What are the social and cultural problems that involve the Moldovan Church? "The Moldovan Church carries out a strong social commitment in an area with an Orthodox majority population, where Catholics represent less than 1%. But the condition of absolute minority has never limited pastoral action, especially as relates to social commitments for the poor, for old and sick people, and for migrants and detainees. Social pastoral care brought Moldovan Catholics to carry out their commitment in streets across the country to share the gospel of charity. From the cultural angle we are aware that the dialogue with a culture that is still rooted in the recent past is very hard: twenty years since the collapse of the Soviet system are still few to say that something has truly changed". Which pastoral proposals are being offered? "As previously said the Catholic Church is present on the streets of Moldova, mostly in the northern part of the Country and in the separatist area of Transnistria, although a few months ago began a journey towards the south of the Country, marked by the birth of small Catholic communities. Evangelization and charity are the themes of our pastoral care, which through the parishes and owing to the commitment of the charity bodies, seeks to reach out to the hearts of the Moldovan population, with no pretense of proselytism, but rather with the objective of transmitting what the population truly needs today: faith and bread".Two years after the Social Week, what are the achievements and what steps should still me made? "The Catholic Social Week celebrated in 2011 was an important moment of ecclesial aggregation and evangelical witness in a Country which needs a strong emphasis on social themes, legality, the respect of human rights, calling upon citizens to undertake a greater commitment. Pastoral care on the streets thus began, in areas marked by severe social adversities, close to the suffering of the population. The Bishop of Chisinau, Msgr. Anton Cosa, a determined and far-sighted pastor, asked social bodies to step up their involvement in order to meet the goals of social justice and evangelical charity. An important objective that has been reached is the recognition on the part of the Moldavian Government of the Christian Workers’ Movement, with the opening of its aid office at the centre of the capital Chisinau". What is expected from Europe? "Moldova has opted for European integration, although a deep economic and political crisis is under way, along with a faint shade of nostalgia. The geopolitical role of Moldova is important, owing to its geographic location along the line of contention separating Europe and Russia, which the separatist area of Transnistria, still awaiting a solution after twenty years, is an evidence of. Migration brings the country closer to Europe, a destination of 25% of the Moldovan diaspora. The Catholic Church lies within this framework. And despite her scarce human and economic resources she is present and strives to let her voice be heard. For a long time the Catholic Church has been asking the Moldovan State, especially given its yearning to become an EU member country, to comply with the restitution of Church property. The Church is not yet the owner of the property of the Church Cathedral, while the current law on religion, despite the amendments, fails to acknowledge the requests contained in the Canon Law regarding ecclesial bodies".At what point is Moldovan Church communication, and how is it viewed by secular media? "There is freedom of information is the country, although information channels have remained in the hands of strong economic and political powers and the news is often tainted by distortion or manipulation. Online news prevails, as is normally the case in poor countries. The Catholic Church is taken into greater consideration, especially in the light of international events, as in the case of the Pope’s resignation. We try to be present and prepared, keeping a distance from all forms of polemics. TV programs often highlight the charitable activity of the Catholic Church. The Catholic community is always informed through an efficient internal communication network, sensitive to the bilingualism that characterizes the liturgy and the dialogue within the Church".

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