COMECE, Germany, Spain

COMECE: online the new issue of “EuropeInfos”September’s editorial of Europeinfos tackles a set of themes ranging from Community policies to the major urgencies in Europe. The new issue of the monthly magazine of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community is available online (www.europe-infos.eu). The article is by Fr Patrick Daly, COMECE Secretary General. Among the topics broached in the magazine figures the story of David Cameron and his opposition to Jean-Claude Junker at the lead of the EU Commission, partly due to the historical opposition of the United Kingdom towards the Union, as pointed out by Frank Turner, and partly “an attempt to compete with UKIP for the anti-European vote, driven by an election imperative,” which “demeans the UK itself. Johanna Touzel describes the “exams” that each Commissioner-designate will have to take in September before the European Parliament to “test their competences.” The “Youth Guarantee”, the Commission’s recommendation, which focuses on training of young people as an antidote against unemployment, is also addressed in the latest issue. Germany: the Church, the media and public opinion  The relationship between the Church and the media is at the centre of Renovabis 18th International Congress, held in Freising in the premises of the local cathedral from September 3-5, with the title “Church, Media – Public Opinion”. The intention of Renovabis- Catholic Assistance Fund for Eastern Europe – is to identify Church opportunities and risks in her relationship with new and old media, especially as relates to Central and Eastern Europe. The theme of this year’s conference has a twofold significance for Renovabis: to use Church media for pastoral and social work through interaction with press, radio and TV worldwide, including the involvement in the field of social media; and to rediscover the Church’s value as a source of communication. The Congress delves into this theme with special focus on central and eastern European countries, addressing the themes of media ethics, freedom of the press and of the new media.  Spain/1: Caritas, hands extended from Madrid to Kiev  Caritas Spain’s support of Caritas Ukraine in helping the victims of a political and social conflict that has been ongoing for the past ten months is ongoing. In particular, Caritas Spain cooperates with the humanitarian aid programme launched past May with a 50 thousand euro contribution. Caritas Ukraine equally promotes programs for medical assistance, psychological, material and social support to the casualties and to the families of 167 people who lost their lives during the protests in Maidan Square, Kiev, from November 2013 to February 2014. Caritas Spain has further contributed to the programme with a 30 thousand euro grant. Caritas Spain, whose cooperation with Kiev’s Caritas for the joint promotion of development programs dates back to 2008 – notably for groups at risk of social exclusion such as the disabled, children, as well as the victims of human trafficking – has witnessed the efforts made by Caritas Ukraine in support of all victims of the political and human emergency in the country during the visit to Ukraine of a group of Caritas representatives at international level.  Spain/2: “Stop to Christians’ persecution” The associations Hazteir.org and Mas Libres.org are engaged in stirring public awareness on the persecutions of Christians in Iraq and in other world countries. A few days ago Hazteir.org launched a campaign asking the Spanish government to find urgent solutions to put an end to the religious genocide in the Middle East, whose threat, according to the association, “weighs heavily over our Country and over all of Europe.” “It is not a coincidence – pointed out Hazteir.org -, that an estimated number of two-thousand European citizens are members of terrorist organizations affiliated with the Islamic Jihad.” To date over 43 thousand Spanish citizens have asked the government chaired by Mariano Rajoy, the Spanish Parliament, the EU Commission and Parliament, the Arab League and the United Nations for an “effective, urgent and strong response”, to “the religious genocide in the Middle East.” Moreover, citizens invite these institutions and their representatives to acknowledge the content of the manifesto “We are all Nazarenes”, drawn up by the association Mas Libres.org, read during the sit-in held August 13 in front of the Iraqi embassy in Madrid. A large number of Muslims, along with the Iraqi ambassador, who appreciated this “courageous initiative, a triumph of reason and of truth”, took part in the demonstration. The manifesto expresses condemnation of “all forms of violence and armed conflicts perpetrated in the name of God and/or of religion.” 

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