Holy See/CCEE, Germany, Portugal

Holy See/CCEE: stop to crimes against Christians "To act clearly against" intolerance and "hate crimes" directed against Christians and protect them "in their territories", as "in areas of the globe reaches" persecution against them "reaches genocidal tendencies." The appeal was addressed to OSCE Countries by the delegation of the Holy See that took part with a delegation of the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences (CCEE) in a Conference on Intolerance and discrimination against Christians held May 18 in Vienna on the initiative of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). Delegations of the various states of the OSCE region as well as NGOs active in the field of intolerance and discrimination against Christians spoke in three sessions in which there emerged "the importance of enhancing efforts to prevent and combat intolerance and discrimination against Christians", focusing on "hate crimes, exclusion, marginalization and denial of rights", referred a CCEE statement. The Vatican delegation was led by Monsignor Janusz Urbanczyk, permanent representative of the Holy See at OSCE and other international organizations with head offices in Vienna; CCEE was present at the meeting in the persons of Fr. Michel Remery, CCEE Vice-Secretary General. "With the increase of religious intolerance in the world," the Holy See delegation affirmed, "Christians are the religious group most persecuted and discriminated against on the global level. In certain regions, including those at the doorstep of the OSCE region, one could even speak of genocidal tendencies in these persecutions." Thankfully, the Christians living in the OSCE region are spared such atrocities." These Christians "are frequently reminded in public discourse or even in the courts, that they can believe whatever they like in private, and worship as they wish in their own churches, but they simply cannot act on those beliefs in public." "To deny religiously informed moral arguments a place in the public square is intolerant, anti-democratic and anti-religious." Germany: Christian Churches, "welcome the refugees" Ahead of the "intercultural week 2015", planned for the end of September next, this week was published a "Joint Statement" (www.interkulturellewoche.de) signed by the President of the German Bishops’ Conference DBK, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, the President of the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany-EKD, the bishop Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, and the president of the Conference of Orthodox Bishops in Germany, Metropolitan Augoustinos. For the 40th intercultural week the representatives of the Churches underlined the progress made in the past 4 decades by Germany, that has become a Country of migration, highlighting that part of the population has problems with growing and cultural diversity. "In the past months we noted that evident and hidden forms of racism still exist in contemporary Germany", the document states, while it’s important to develop contacts and relations because "each encounter reduces the fear of strangers and increases their esteem". Opposition to all forms of exclusion is fundamental for the Churches. "Social participation enables full equality." For the three leaders these are fundamental questions and "after 40 years the intercultural week and its objectives are topical issues." Given the tragic situation in the Mediterranean Cardinal Marx, the evangelical bishop Bedford-Strohm and Orthodox metropolitan bishop Augoustinos envisage a growing challenge for German society: "We should not allow that people that are escaping existential discomfort, wars, violence and persecutions are exposed to the risk of dying at sea – the prelates write – it is necessary to find other pathways to Europe, to prevent Europe from becoming the place where the Christian west succumbs." The document equally highlights the need to increase efforts to this regard with a new program to welcome refugees and asylum-seekers. The intercultural Week will be opened by Federal president Joachim Gauck on September 27 in Magonza Portugal: media, the app "Masses in Lisbon" The Patriarchate of Lisbon presented the phone application "Masses in Lisbon" with which it is possible to "learn the timetable of the Eucharistic celebrations of all 285 parishes in the diocese, the chants of Sunday Mass, and the localization of the various Churches." According to Mons. Manuel Clemente, the free device for smartphones of the Android and iOS systems, prevented on the occasion of the World Communications Day, "is a way to reach out to the highest possible number of people: reaching out to everyone is our horizon, but for the time being we enable those seeking us to find us more easily", said the Cardinal-patriarch of the Portuguese capital. The primary goal of the application is to promote the most requested functions through the website of the diocese: www.patriarcado-lisboa.pt/site/index.php?cont_=5&tem=63.

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