Building the Church

Crisis, immigration, right to life and marriage at the bishops' plenary

From April 15 to 19 took place the 101st plenary meeting of the Spanish Bishops’ Conference (CEE), whereby the bishops approved, among other things, a message for the beatification of the Year of Faith, due to take place in Tarragona Sunday October 13th. Don’t loose sight of higher values. “The severe consequences of the economic crisis, such as unemployment and the lack of means to address the commitments taken for the purchase of lodgings or for the dutiful attention to the elderly and the immigrants”, were the focus of the prolusion by cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, archbishop of Madrid and CEE president. The prelate voiced his concern over “the lack of legal protection for the right to life of the newborn”, along with “a deeply unjust law on marriage”. Moreover, just legislation is needed as relates to the freedom of teaching, and in concrete terms, for the exercise of the fundamental right of parents in the choice of the ethical and religious education of their children”. Cardinal Rouco pointed out: “in the framework of ongoing difficulties linked to the economic downturn, social tensions linger on”. Moreover, “nobody should draw advantage from the difficulties of individuals and social groups in the pursuit of their goals, however legitimate”, loosing sight of supreme goods such as “reconciliation, unity and the primacy of law”. The apostolic nuncio in Spain, Monsignor Renzo Fratini, recalling the election of the new Pontiff, invited the bishops to focus on the “risk that the Church may become self-referential, falling into narcissism. The Pope reminds us that we have to go out, walk, evangelize and build the Church, bringing the Church to others, proclaiming the periphery of Jesus Christ”. Three approved texts. The bishops approved the second Catechism for Christian initiation “Witnesses of the Lord”, for children and adolescents aged 10-14. The document was sent to Rome for “recognitio” after which it will be published. The Assembly thus approved the document “Particular Church and consecrated Life. Operative procedures to facilitate mutual relations between bishops and consecrated life in Spain”. The bishops jointly signed the message marking the beatification ceremony of 500 Spanish martyrs during the civil war. The ceremony will take place in Tarragona on October 13. The message is divided into five sections: the martyrs, models in the confession of the faith and major intercessors; the 20th century martyrs in Spain beatified in the Year of Faith (theme of the beatification); an hour of grace; the beatification in Tarragona.Being faithful to Christ. Some 500 martyrs, recall the Spanish bishops in their message, “gave up their lives for the love of Jesus Christ in several areas of Spain, during the religious persecution of the 1930s. Several thousands shared the supreme testimony of faith. The Church today bestows upon them a solemn recognition as martyrs of Christ”. Those who will soon become Blessed were “firm and brave witnesses of faith who inspire us with their example and help us with their intercession”. Catholics and ecclesial communities are thus invited “to take part in the new event of grace in Tarragona, if possible and in any case, joining us spiritually for the preparations and celebrations”. 20th century martyrs in Spain. The Spanish Church, the prelates remarked in their message “has been given the grace of having a large number of the privileged witnesses of the Lord and His Gospel. Since 1987, when the first martyrs were beatified – the discalced Carmelites of Guadalajara – 1001 martyrs have been beatified, 11 of whom have already been canonized”. On the occasion of the Year of Faith, for the second time after the beatification of 498 martyrs celebrated in Rome in 2007, a “numerous group of martyrs” will be beatified in Tarragona next fall. Among them figure 3 bishops, Salvio Huix, of Lérida; Manuel Basulto, of Jaén, and Manuel Borrás, of Tarragona. A large group of diocesan bishops, mostly from Tarragona, many religious men and women from various religious orders, seminarians and lay people will be beatified. Most of them were young, but also old people, men, and women. “Before the beatification ceremony, will be published, God willing, the third volume of the series ‘Who they are and where they come from’, that brings together the biographies and the photographs of each martyr beatified in the Year of Faith”, the bishops said. The prelates explain why Tarragona was chosen for the beatification ceremony: in this city “is preserved the tradition of the first Spanish martyrs. There, in the Roman amphitheatre of the year 259, the bishop Saint Fructuoso and his deacons San Eulogio and Saint Augurio gave up their lives for Christ”.

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