Caritas Europe, Portugal, Russia

Caritas Europe: may “right to food” be a priority “Playing a consistent role in the shaping of the future of developing countries”; establishing a “zero-hunger” goal for the post-2015 agenda, creating a monitoring system of commitments, giving coherence to EU policies, ensuring that “external repercussions of its policies may not hinder the Community objective of development aimed at global poverty-reduction”: these requests are contained in a document published by Caritas Europe upon the opening of Italy’s six-month presidency of the EU. Despite the fact that over 842 million people continue to suffer from hunger, Caritas “is firmly convinced” that this scourge could be “sustainably defeated by 2025” and that the EU could “take the lead of this road headed towards this goal”. However, there are a set of non-negotiable recommendations” already advanced by Caritas in a report on the “Right to food” published in April. In particular, it involves “considering bio-fuels policies, land property and trade policies and evaluating all the consequences and risks that could ensue”. It is also necessary to ensure that “the right to food” becomes a top priority of the EU; promoting sustainable agricultural policies on small scale, without endorsing those that have a negative impact on the environment; defining “binding goals” in the efforts to reduce Co2 emissions and maintaining global warming under 1.5° C; finally, sustaining and listening to the experience of all organizations of civil society involved in the fight on hunger. Caritas Europe expressed its support for “the ambitious Italian development program”. Only in this way, concludes the Declaration, will the continent be able to “fulfill its mandate of solidarity within and outside its borders and continue working for a just and equal future, rich in human dignity at global level”. Portugal: migrations and human exploitation The responsibles for migration of Portugal’s Catholic Church launched a cry of alarm on situations of exploitation and human trafficking triggered by the ongoing economic situation. The national meeting of 40 diocesan Secretariats for Migration, that concluded on July 5 in the city of Tomar, was attended, inter alia, by four representatives of Portuguese-language Catholic Missions of Andorra, South Africa, France, Holland, and of the coordinators of chaplainships of African and Ukrainians migrants. The final statement, drawn up on the basis of the central theme of the meeting, (“Far away is closer than we imagine”) highlights the fact that “the cases of sexual abuse, domestic servants, labour exploitation, panhandling and illegal adoption in Portugal show that actions carried out at international level must be accompanied by fundamental and necessary interventions on the part of local communities”. In order to respond to the growing trafficking of human beings and to other forms of illegal trafficking, the document proposes “the promotion and the use of an ecclesiastic network that will facilitate the efforts of spiritual accompaniment and material vicinity towards the victims”, calling for the formation of pastoral agents, capable of responding to concrete thrust by the Churches of the Countries of arrival and the current situation of migration”. In a Europe overcome by an economic crisis, in which financial burdens are seen as the sole criteria for action, we consider it necessary to reaffirm once again that the absolute value of the dignity of the human person should become the main goal coupled by migration and asylum policies”. Russia: consecrated two new churches The church consecrated by archbishop Paolo Pezzi on July 5 in Bryansk, a Russian town on the border with Belarus is dedicated to Our Lady of Salvation. It’s the tenth church recently built on the territory of the archdiocese of the Mother of God in Moscow and by the rebirth of ecclesial structures in 1990. The Catholic Community of Bryansk had been dispersed by Communism, the church was seized and never returned. The community that gained new life 17 years ago, started to build a new church in 2010, thanks to foreign funding, and especially thanks to the involvement of all parishioners: “People have invested in this building a great deal of time and efforts as happens only with something that belong to us”, said the dean Msgr. Zbigniew Krul. The vivacity of this community is rooted in the martyrdom of the parish: Fr Jan was killed in 2005 by two young homeless that the priest had just helped. Also on Saturday, the bishop of Saratov Clemens Pickel consecrated a church in Blagoveschenka, a village in the far east of Russia on the border with China, with pilgrims from neighbouring villages.

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