Ccee, Spain

CCEE: Orthodox-Catholic Forum in Minsk European Catholics and Orthodox convened to discuss about “Religion and cultural diversity: challenges for Christian Churches in Europe”. It is the theme chosen for the fourth European Catholic-Orthodox Forum in Minsk, Belarus, that opened on June 2nd (ongoing until June 6). The ecumenical initiative is promoted by the Council of the European Bishops’ Conferences (CCEE), alongside with Orthodox Churches in Europe. Cardinal Péter Erdo, CCEE president, and Metropolitan Gennadios of Sassima from the ecumenical patriarchate, delivered the opening addresses. The Orthodox delegation includes Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk from Moscow’s Patriarchate along with representatives from the patriarchates of Serbia, Romania, Georgia, Cyprus, Greece, Czech Republic and Slovakia. Among the Catholic Church dignitaries attending the event figure the archbishop of Minsk, Msgr. Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, the archbishop of Moscow, Msgr. Paolo Pezzi. The two delegations will address, inter alia, the following themes: “religion and cultural reality in Europe today”; “the role of human and Christian values in multicultural European societies;” “religious freedom”; “the need for interreligious dialogue”; “the moral reconstruction of Europe”. This initiative – CCEE pointed out – is a result of the will to discuss anthropological and pastoral issues with crucial relevance for the present and for the future of humanity, with the purpose of reaching common positions on social and moral questions”. The Forum will release a public statement on June 5. Spain/1: migrations, the tragedy of Ceuta and Melilla The members of the Secretariat of Migrations, of the Rajab Project, of the Labour Fraternity of Catholic Action (HOAC), the Pastoral of Labour of Jaén, released a joint manifesto demanding a European solution to the tragedy of the borders of Ceuta and Melilla. “What is happening in Ceuta and Melilla, and in general on the Southern border of the European Union, is a tragedy that must be addressed immediately with the adoption of measures that comply with national, European, and international legal frameworks to ensure the full respect of human rights”, the signatories state in the manifesto, adding that “it is paramount to give value to people who in Morocco and in other Countries of transi, are experiencing humanitarian emergencies. At the same time it is necessary to ensure respect of their rights and access to adequate protection, with the involvement of the Spanish government and the European Union”. Moreover, the manifesto proposes four measures: “to facilitate the regularization of migrants in Morocco”; “to ensure the EU’s support to said regularization enabling family reunification”, “to grant adequate protection to refugees and asylum-seekers arriving from EU countries through integration programs”; “to reconsider visa policies towards African countries”. The message of the promoters of the manifesto closes with an appeal “to all those in a position of influencing politicians to responsibly adopt this human and sustainable initiative”. Spain/2: “Somos”, pro-NGO campaign 80% of the Spanish population have faith in NGOs work, consider it important, but only 1 on 10 cooperates with NGOs on a regular basis. Spaniards devote their utmost commitment to address situations of emergency, as in the case of the earthquake in Haiti or the tsunami in Japan, but they rank last in Europe in terms of NGO membership. For this reason, in the third edition of the “We are” campaign the question is: “Are we or are we not?” supportive. The campaign is an initiative of various non-governmental organizations, comprised in the Spanish Fundraising Association (AEFR) that seek to promote a greater culture of solidarity in Spain. It includes religious and Christian NGOs. The third edition brings together the efforts of 33 NGOs. This year’s novelty, “Somos”, seeks citizens’ cooperation through a solidarity text message to the number 28014, as a first cooperative step with NGOs participating in the campaign, whose activity focuses on three major themes: hunger and poverty, childhood, education, emergencies, health and research, disabilities and social exclusion. The 2014 Somos campaign challenges Spanish society to pledge its committed with a long-term cause, since, as AEFR president Camen Gayo said: “We wish to encourage Spanish society to draw near NGOs, and highlight their positive commitment”. The peak of the campaign will be on June 6, when the “We are” (Siamo) day will be celebrated. The main event will be held in Madrid’s historical centre.

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