Social challenges, the voice of the Church

The Week of Studies kicks off in Alicante. On the agenda: economy, work, family, volunteering, State-society relations

Alicante hosts the Social Week of Spain, October 23 to 25. “For a new society. Challenges and Proposals” is the theme of this 42nd edition of the event organized by the Spanish Bishops’ Conference that brings together national and international experts. A milestone in social thinking. Monsignor Jesús Murgui, bishop of Orihuela-Alicante, welcoming the fact that Alicante will stage this important initiative, in the year marking the 450th anniversary of the diocese of Orihuela-Alicante, underlined that the Week is an “itinerating teaching class on Church Social Doctrine”. For Fernando Fuentes Alcántara, director of the secretariat of the bishops’ Commission for Social Pastoral Care of the Spanish Bishops’ Conference, it’s not confined to one meeting only but rather it’s a “thorough work of discernment brought across the Country since its establishment in 1906”. “Social weeks are a milestone within Church social doctrine with prominent national and international experts”, added Fuentes Alcántara. Welcoming address by Cardinal Barbarin. The program of the 2014 Week consists of three intense day of activity in the Culture Hall of the Foundation of the Community of Valencia, a charity centre of ‘Cassa Mediterraneo’. The apostolic nuncio in Spain, Archbishop Renzo Fratini, will be present at the opening of the meeting on the evening of Thursday, October 23. The Bishop of Mondoñedo-Ferrol, advisor of the Social Weeks of Spain, Monsignor Manuel Sánchez Monge, will attend the same panel. Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, Archbishop of Lyon and a member of the Doctrinal Commission of the Bishops’ Conference of France, will deliver the welcoming address. Vicente Navarro de Luján, president of the national Council for the Social Weeks of Spain, highlighted the importance of being able to count on the presence of cardinal Barbarin for the opening session of this forum: “He is held in high esteem, respected for his great capacity for dialogue. His diocese, that of Lyon, will serve as a paradigm of problems encountered by other dioceses in Europe”. 21st century challenges. “State-society relations models” will be analysed by the professor of Political Science and Administration of the University of Murcia, Fernando Jiménez Sánchez, Friday October 24. On the same day Stefano Zamagni, Professor of Political Economy, will deliver a panel speech on “How to revive the European project. The task of Catholics in this process”. For Navarro de Luján, “there will be analytical reports that will help us evaluate the challenges we are called to face in Europe and the forms of participation in public life prompted by the Spanish Church”. The event also envisages several thematic workshops on “Economic crisis and the family”, “The meaning of work in a throw-away society”, “Experiences of social initiative”, “Crisis and social commitment”, and “NGO and social action: an experience in India”. A long tradition. “These round tables will highlight the answers that are being given by the Spanish Church before the problems of our society”, explained the president of the national Council of the Social Weeks of Spain. The Social week of Spain will close on October 25 with a report on “Economic prospects in Spain”, by the professor of applied Economics at the University of Ceu San Paolo, Rafael Pampillón Olmedo. The Social Weeks of Spain, created in 1906, are a service of the Spanish Bishops’ Conference for the study, diffusion and application of Church Social Doctrine, held regularly in various dioceses across the Country. In the diocese of Orihuela-Alicante they were celebrated a first time in 1984, in their 33rd edition.

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