COMECE, Spain, Bulgaria-Croatia

COMECE: document on “surrogate motherhood” “Surrogacy has become a booming industry across the world. This is true both in developed and less developed countries. It represents a serious violation of the human dignity and basic fundamental rights of the woman and of the child.” The condemnation was voiced by the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community (COMECE) which drew up an Opinion assessing “the ethics of the Surrogate Motherhood and discussing its tangled legal repercussions”, “advocating international or European rules to address it.” The announcement was given by COMECE Secretariat due to prepare the new document during a seminar co-organised by the working group on Bioethics and Human Dignity at the European Parliament next February 23 in Brussels. The chair of the working group Miroslav Mikolasik and Fr Patrick Daly, Secretary General of COMECE will introduce the seminar. The document’s presentation will be followed by a reflection on human trafficking by Jesuit Fr Patrick Verspieren from the Sèvres Centre, focusing on women, linked to the practice of surrogate motherhood. The seminar is open to the public prior registration on COMECE’s website (www.comece.org).Spain: Religious Movies Week  The Department for the Pastoral Care of Youths of the Bishops’ Commission of the apostolate of the laity has decided to take over the organization of Religious Movies Week, coordinated by Barcelona’s Observatory for Religious Films for the past eleven years, under the supervision of Peio Sánchez, promoter of the project. The number of dioceses involved in the project has been increasing year after year. For this reason, and owing to increasing organizational complexities linked to the renewed, expanded project, it was decided to hand over the entire preparation of the event to the Department for the Pastoral Care of Youths, headed by Fr Raúl Tinajero Ramírez, with the purpose of making another step to increase ecclesial and evangelizing involvement with the Religious Films Week, born on the initiative of a group of teachers of communication, theology, science of education, as well as by movie enthusiasts and workers, who firmly believed in the importance of movies as a medium for the communication of spiritual values. The XI Religious Films Week has already begun with the participation of forty dioceses in Spain. This change in organization takes place when the current edition of the Religious Movie Week is already taking place across Spain. For example, a few days ago it was staged in the diocese of Getafe and Toledo, the same will happen in over sixty seats of forty dioceses taking part in the project. Some 160 thousand people including children, adolescents and youths, have taken part in the 11th edition of the initiative to date. Bulgaria-Croatia: the recollection of bishop StrossmayerThe Jubilee week on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Croatian bishop Josip Strossmayer, outstanding figure in South-Eastern Europe at the turn of the Eighteenth century, is ongoing until February 13 in Sofia. The event – which opened February 9 – is co-organized by the Bulgarian Institute for Balkan studies and by the Croatia’s Academy of Sciences. The conference, held February 10, in the Hall of the Academy of Sciences was at the centre of the program entirely dedicated to bishop Strossmayer, including an exhibition, inaugurated at the end of the meeting. Mass was celebrated Monday in St. Joseph’s Catholic Cathedral officiated by the bishop of Sofia -Plovdiv Msgr. Georgi Yovcev and by the Croatian archbishop of Dakovo-Osijek, Msgr. Duro Hranic, successor of the Episcopal chair of Msgr. Strossmayer. The Jubilee Week goes on with a rich academic and cultural program. “Msgr. Strossmayer has supported the yearning for freedom and the cultural identity of the Bulgarian population in times of difficulty, motivated by his Gospel values”, Fr Strahil Kavalenov, historian, Catholic priest of Veliko Tarnovo, told SIR Europe. “For this reason his personality is deeply respected in Bulgaria and the fact that he was a Catholic priest increases esteem towards the Catholic Church.”

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