COMECE, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Germany

COMECE, topical relevance and family “coherence” today “The traditionalist understanding of the family based on the marriage between a man and women, far from being regressive or obsolete, has an internal coherence and a logic that provide answers to many pressing problems of our times. However, when speaking of traditional marriage I am not referring to a 1950s stereotyped picture of the woman at home and the man in a salaried job”. These were the opening remarks by Breda O’Brien, editorialist for the “The Irish Times”, on the occasion of a conference promoted by the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community, held January 7 in Brussels at the Chapel for Europe. Focus of the meeting was the family in this historical phase in the framework of ongoing social, cultural and legislative transformations in the Old Continent. O’Brien addressed the theme of relations inside the family, of man-woman relationship, parenthood, educational responsibilities, homosexuality, delving into three “elements characterizing the traditional family”: “the first is the importance of the difference between men and women; the second is the centrality of the child; the third is the interaction between the family and the rest of the world”, in the sense that “the family doesn’t only provide support to individuals living inside it, but also to society as a whole”. “From this perspective policies at national and international level are needed in support of the family”. Survey in Ukraine: faith in the Church The majority of Ukrainians have confidence in the Church, among the least trusted institutions figure the parliament, the courts and the police. These are the findings of a survey conducted by the Centre for sociology and market research “Socis” and the sociological group “Rating” from 7 al December 17, 2013 on a sample of 3,200 citizens of all age groups over 18 , in all regions of the country. According to the survey, more than 64% of respondents have confidence in the churches, and over 58% have confidence in the mass media. The Supreme Council of Ukraine (Parliament) is not trusted by 80, 2% of respondents, nor are the judges by 79.2% while 79% don’t trust the police. According to experts, the results may have been influenced by the EuroMaidan demonstrations in Kiev, following the decision of the President not to sign the Association Agreement with the European Union. The Year of Vocations in the Czech Republic The diocese of Hradec Králové in the Czech Republic will celebrate the 350th anniversary of its foundation in 2014, and Bishop Jan Vokál has decided to proclaim it Year of Vocations, with special emphasis on priestly and religious vocations. “I ask you to bear in mind this need of our diocese every time you address the Holy Spirit and the Mother of God in your prayers, asking for strong guidance and protection”, said Mons. Vokál, who called upon the priests to devote special reflections on the theme of vocations in their homilies and in all other activities, notably in the formation of young people. The Diocese is preparing various activities and events for 2014 to celebrate the jubilee, which include exhibitions, conferences, concerts and nine pilgrimages in different areas of the region of Hradec Králové. The first step was symbolically made on January 1st, when the new heraldic coat of arms, depicting a dove on a red background and the letter M symbolizing Virgin Mary, was presented to the public. Germania: Caritas campaign on consumerism and migration “Our behaviours in rich countries have repercussions on the living conditions of poor Countries. We want to raise public awareness on the fact that the decision of every single person can contribute to making the world more socially equal”, said the president of Caritas Germany Peter Neher on January 8, during the presentation of the 2014 Caritas campaign in Berlin. Climate changes, the approach towards consumerism and migration are the highlights of the campaign for shared responsibility on these issues. “In a globalised world, neighbourhood extends beyond national borders and includes the entire world. This means that people today are also called to face the question of individual responsibility”, Neher said speaking of the problems of workers’ exploitation in smartphone production industries and the disposal of electronic devices in landfills in Africa, often carried out by children.

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