World day of peace

"Peace is not a dream, no utopia: It is possible." This writes Pope Benedict XVI. in his Message "Blessed are the peacemakers" for the celebration of the world peace day on the 1st of January 2013. 

The message can be read in the following languages:

englishgerman, french, italian, 

spanish and arabic. 

12/16/11

Message for the World Day for Peace 2012

Pope Benedikt XVI. has placed his message for the world day of peace under the topic: "Education young people in justice and peace".

It is a matter of comunication to young people an appreciation for the positive value of life and of awakening in them a desire to spend their lives in the service of God. Here you can read the whole message.

05/03/11

48th worlddag of prayer for vocations

The fourth sunday of Easter - this year the 15th of May - is traditionally the worlddag of prayer for vocations. Pope Benedict has made his message on the occasion of this day under the theme: "Proposing Vocations in the Lokal Church".

He stressed the importance, that every local church "has to become more sensitive and attentive to the pastoral care of vocations, helping children and young in particular at every level of family, parish and associations - as Jesus did with his disciples - to grow into a genuine and affectionate friendship with the Lord, cultivated through personal and liturgical prayer; to grow in familiarity with the sacred Scriptures and thus to listen attentively and fruitfully to the word of God..."

You can find the Pope´s message in English, German and Polish here.

03/25/11

40 years CCEE: a letter to all catholic bishops in Europe

The conference for all european bishops´ conferences CCEE can celebrate today its 40 years jubilee. Cardinal Peter Ergö, President of CCEE and the archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest - refers in his letter to all the bishops in Europe to the rolle of CCEE and to the challenges in future. The letter can be read in English, German, French and Italian.

03/07/11

Message of Pope Benedikt XVI. for Lent

Pope Benedikt XVI. has published his message for Lent under the topic "You were burried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him". He marks the way through Lent to Easter by interpreting the Sunday Gospels. (more)

"By His wounds you have been healed " Under this motto, Pope Benedict XVI. has published his message to the XIX. worlddag for the sick and suffering. 

Every year this day is celebrated worldwide on 11 February, the commemoration of Our Lady of Lourdes. The message of the Holy Father can be read in the following languages: German, English and Polish.

10/18/10

Letter to seminarians

Pope Benedict XVI. has written a very personal letter to the seminarians where he promises his prayer for them in a very difficult time. (more...)

10/13/10

World Youth Days in Madrid

From 16th to 21st of august the World Youth Days will take place in Madrid. The topic of these days will be: "Planted and build up in Jesus Christ, firm in the faith" (Col 2,7).

For further information see here: www.madrid11.com

02/15/10

47th World Day of Prayer for Vocations - 25 April 2010

Every year, the 4th Sunday of Easter is celebrated the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. The Holy Father has chosen the topic "Witness Awakens Vocation" for this year. He points out, that the fruitfulness of our efforts to promote vocations depends primarily on God´s free action, but that is is also helped by the quality and depth of the personal and communal withness of those who have already answered the Lord´s call to the ministerial priesthood and to the consecreated life... more.

The message of the Holy Father is also available in German and Polish.

Urgent need for support as Beit Jala families seek justice Bishops call for prayer and for international pressure as Supreme Court of Israel Hearing into Cremisan Valley starts

As Bishops of the Holy Land Co-ordination, we call for justice to be upheld in the Cremisan Valley, near Bethlehem. Israel’s plans to build a security wall on the land of  58 Christian families should be abandoned. We met with many families from Beit Jala during our recent visit to the Holy Land. We heard of their pain and anguish. They are faced with the threatened loss of their land and livelihood as the planned security wall will destroy vineyards, groves and orchards and separate them from their land.

 

We recognise the right of the State of Israel to security and secure borders. However, the planned route of the security wall deviates sharply from the Green Line, the internationally-recognised demarcation line separating Israel and the territories captured in the six-day war of 1967. More than three quarters of the wall’s planned route falls outside the Green Line and is illegal according to a landmark advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice, while also a flagrant breach of the Geneva Convention and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 

 

     

We urge our governments to encourage Israel to follow international law. In particular, for Israel to respect the livelihoods of these families and for the people of Beit Jala to be protected from further expropriation of their land and homes by Israel. This is a matter of urgency as on 29 January the Israeli Supreme Court starts its hearing into the building of a security wall in the Cremisan Valley and the families’ appeal to protect their land.  

 

Our deep concern, as we have repeatedly stated is that this planned security wall is more about consolidating the settlement areas and permanently choking off Bethlehem from Jerusalem. This particular plan is a microcosm of the tragic situation in the Holy Land which incites resentment and mistrust, making the possibility of a much-needed solution less likely.  

 

Our prayers are with the people of Beit Jala as they seek justice. We offer them also for all who seek a just peace in the Holy Land.

 

 

Bishops of the Holy Land Co-ordination, 2014

 

Archbishop Stephen Brislin, South Africa

Bishop Peter Burcher, Scandinavia, Finland and Iceland

Bishop William Crean, Ireland

Bishop Michel Dubost, France

Archbishop Paul-Andre Durocher, Canada

Archbishop Patrick Kelly, England and Wales

Bishop William Kenney, England and Wales

Bishop Declan Lang, England and Wales 

Bishop Denis Nulty, Ireland

Bishop Richard Pates, United States of America

Bishop Thomas Renz, Germany

Bishop Janusz Stepnowski, Poland

Archbishop Joan Enric Vives, Spain

 

01/18/14

Bishops call for leaders of hope

As bishops from Europe, South Africa and North America we came to the Holy Land to pray with and support the Christian community and the cause of peace. In Gaza we witnessed the deep poverty of the people, and the courageous presence of the small and vulnerable Christian communities there.

 

Gaza is a man-made disaster, a shocking scandal, an injustice that cries out to the human community for a resolution. We call upon political leaders to improve the humanitarian situation of the people in Gaza, assuring access to the basic necessities for a dignified human life, the possibilities for economic development, and freedom of movement.

 

In the seemingly hopeless situation of Gaza, we met people of hope. We were encouraged by our visit to tiny Christian communities, which day after day, through many institutions, reach out with compassion to the poorest of the poor, both Muslim and Christian. We continue to pray for and support the priests, religious and laypeople working in Gaza. They exercise a ministry of presence, care for disabled children and the elderly, and teach the young.

 

Their testimony of faith, hope and love gave us hope. This is precisely the hope needed at this moment to bring peace, a peace that can only be built on justice and equity for both peoples. Palestinians and Israelis desperately need this peace. For example, in the Cremisan valley the route of the security barrier threatens the agricultural land held for generations by 58 Christian families. The current peace talks come at a critical time. Now is the time to ensure that the aspirations for justice of both sides are fulfilled.

 

We urge public officials to become leaders of hope, not people of obstruction. We call upon them to listen to the words of Pope Francis, who recently said to the Diplomatic Corps: “The resumption of peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians is a positive sign, and I express my hope that both parties will resolve, with the support of the international community, to take courageous decisions aimed at finding a just and lasting solution to a conflict which urgently needs to end” (13 January, 2014).

 

As we leave the Holy Land, the bishops and people of the local Church remain in our hearts. They are not alone. Together with them we are people of hope. We pray that the visit of Pope Francis to the Holy Land will reinforce hope in the region. We believe a lasting peace is possible.

 

 

Archbishop Stephen Brislin, South Africa

Bishop Pierre Burcher, Scandinavia

Bishop William Crean, Ireland

Bishop Michel Dubost, France

Archbishop Paul-Andre Durocher, Canada

Archbishop Patrick Kelly, England and Wales

Bishop William Kenney, England and Wales

Bishop Declan Lang, England and Wales

Bishop Denis Nulty, Ireland

Bishop Richard Pates, United States of America

Bishop Thomas Renz, Germany

Bishop Janusz Stepnowski, Poland

Archbishop Joan Enric Vives, Spain

41st annual meeting of the secretary general of the european bishops' conferences

 "Do not be afraid! The Gospel is not against you, but for you. Be confident! In the Gospel, which is Jesus, you will find the sure and lasting hope to which you aspire. Be certain! The Gospel of hope does not disappoint!" (Ecclesia in Europa, 121). This message of hope given to the Church in Europe by Blessed John Paul II has brought to an end the 41st meeting of the Secretaries General of the Catholic Bishops’ Conferences who met in Warsaw (Poland) on June 27 through 30 at the invitation of the President of the Polish Catholic Bishops’ Conference (CEP) and Vice-president of the CCEE, Archbishop Józef Michalik, and the Secretary General of CEP, Bishop Wojciech Polak. The theme of the meeting was the new evangelization ten years after the Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Europa, during the Year of Faith.

(more...)

 

The Nordic Bishops’ Conference Spring Session Stift Heiligenkreuz, Austria, 15 to 20 March 2013

The Nordic Bishops finished their spring session in Stift Heiligenkreuz in Austria on 20 March. They have enjoyed the hospitality of the Cistercian monks in their ancient monastry not far from Vienna, and have paid a visit to the Apostolic Nuncio in Austria, the Abbey of Klosterneuburg  and the International Theological Institute in Trumau in addition to their busy agenda.

Read more here... 

12/08/12

"I believe ... in Jesus Christ, concieved by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary"

Bishop Peter Bürcher - Bishop of Reykjavik - writes his thoughts about hte third article of the apostolic creed. 

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

 

What does it mean, “I believe in”? Here, to believe in Jesus Christ, also  means “to trust in”, “to count on”, “I give him and his word  my full trust”. I should therefore not mix this up with ”I believe that ...”, which means as much as “I suppose that”, or “I think that“, I am not sure that”. No,  this has to do with my certain belief in Jesus Christ, in the strict sense of the prayer, “Lord, I do believe, help my unbelief!”

For me the day of my baptism was the most beautiful day of my life. At this celebration the priest asked: What name do you give the child? What do you ask of God’s Church? The faith. And he asked again: Are you ready to raise your child in the Christian faith, so that it will gain everlasting life? Yes. Whoever wants to gain life must keep the commandments: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. And: You shall love your neighbour as yourself”. For me and my family everything was clear and the three dimensional direction of life was indicated: Faith, everlasting life and charity. (more ...) 

 

 

Bishop Anders Arborelius OCD: 2nd part I belive in Jesus Christ his only Son, our Lord

We cannot speak of the Father without mentioning the Son, nor speak of the Son without mentioning the Father. Their mutual love is the absolute centre of everything that exits. The Son comes, is born, from the Father, beyond time and space. When the Son becomes man in Jesus Christ and is born from the virgin womb of Mary, we perceive something of the Father. In his teachings, Jesus is always speaking about his Father who is also our Father. He is always the way to the Father. In Jesus we gain access to God. Our life is about getting to know him and getting as close as possible to him, so that he might save us and make us who we really are, the beloved children of the Father. (more...) 

The text is also available in the follwing languages: german, spanish, polish, arabic, danish and swedish.

Bishop Anders Arborelius OCD, Bishop of Stockholm and President of the Nordic Bishops'  Conference is giving a videotalk on the topic: What's about the "Year of Faith" and adresses all the Faithful in the North. 

Bishops on the traces of the Catholic church in Iceland

Yesterday the members of the Nordic Bishops' Conference have undertaken a pilgrimage on the traces of the Catholic church in Iceland. They went also to Skálholt, a historically very important place in the history of the Catholic church of Iceland. 

The place is in spite of his low size of noteworthy meaning for the history of the country, nevertheless, it was since the Middle Ages the most important bishop's see of Iceland (founded in 1056). Therefore Skálholt had as a cultural and political centre through many centuries a similar significance like Þingvellir. 

In 1550 the last Catholic bishop of Iceland before the Reformation, Jón Arason, and his sons were executed here. In 1801 the bishop's see was moved to Reykjavik. Now there are a Lutheran Bischöfin and two auxiliary bishops and the Catholic bishop of Reykjavik - Peter Bürcher - responsible for the whole of Iceland.

Autumn Plenary Session of the Nordic Bishops' Conference opened in Reykjavik

The autumn plenary session of the Nordic Bishops' Conference meets in these days in Reykjavik / Iceland. 

During the coming five days the bishops from Danmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway and Iceland will discuss topics like the Year of Faith, the ecumenical relations and the priesteducation. 

Bishop Anders Arborelius, formand of the NBC said in the opening speech that the Newevangelization in the nordic countries is very important for the secularized countries.

Therefore also the synod of bishops will discuss this topic. Bishop Grgic from Tromsø will take part as a representativ of the NBC. 

Bishop Arborelius expressed his hope, that the exchange of ideas kan help to plan concrete steps for the Year of Faith.

Symposium Africa Europe

For the second time since 2004, a Symposium gathering 70 African and European bishops has taken place in Rome, from February 13 to 17, 2012, with representatives of the Symposium of Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SCEAM) and the Council of Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of Europe (CCEE), under the auspices of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and with the collaboration of various charitable organizations. The final document here.

01/16/12

Holy Land Coordination 2012

Holy Land Coordination 2012 Final Communiqué

12 January 2012

We, the Bishops of the Holy Land Coordination, have met in the Holy Land since 1998, to be in solidarity with the local Christian community and share in the pastoral life of the local Church. While the faith we see in the Christians of the Holy Land is an inspiration to all, we have heard repeatedly and have seen ourselves that occupation and insecurity, fear and frustration dominate the life of people across this land. Blaming the other is an abdication of responsibility and a failure of leadership, a leadership that the people so desperately need. We have heard and we make this conviction our own: to be pro-Israeli has to mean being pro-Palestinian. This means being pro-justice for all, whose certain fruit is lasting peace.

We recognise the importance of the resumption of dialogue between the Palestinian Authority and Israel. We echo the words of Pope Benedict to the diplomatic corps on 9 January when he expressed his hope that this dialogue "will be maintained, and that it will lead to lasting peace which guarantees the right of the two peoples to dwell in security in sovereign states and within secure and internationally recognised borders."

A negotiated agreement is urgently required

That dialogue is threatened and undermined by extremism and intolerance of the other, the signs of which are only too apparent in the attitudes, judgements and actions of far too many in the world today. This is a concern for both sides and we appeal for tolerance and courageous leadership, able to show forgiveness and humility, to promote peaceful co-existence.

Despite the serious problems we heard and we saw this year, our faith gives us hope and there are signs of hope: the gathering of the Churches for the Synod on the Middle East; the increasing numbers of pilgrims; the inter-religious co-operation and friendship we witnessed in Galilee that offers an example to all; the housing projects of the Latin Patriarchate and the Custody of the Holy Land; the humanitarian efforts of Catholic organisations along with a range of other practical, educational and cultural initiatives to assist the local community - all of which we encourage and support. Above all our hope is nourished by the continuing witness of the Christian communities we met and with whom we celebrated our faith in Gaza, Nablus, Jerusalem and Galilee.

We also recognise the progress being made on negotiations between Israel and the Holy See, with hopes for a resolution soon.

Political leaders of both sides and our own countries need to show courage, resolve and creativity so the simple hopes of the majority for peaceful co-existence are realised. The fidelity to their way of life of Jews, Christians and Muslims should always be such that there is deep-seated openness to all others. May God bless all of the people of the Holy Land.

10/18/11

Pope Benedikt XVI has announed a "Year of Faith"

On Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI has announced his decision to declare a special year of Faith, which will start on 11th October 2012 - the 50th Anniversary of the opening of the 2nd Ecumenical Vatican Council, and end on the 24th  November 2013, the Solemnity of Christ the King. The motivations, objectives and guidelines of this year explaines Benedict XVI. in the Apostolic Letter in the form of a motu proprio Porta Fiedei.

07/25/11

Catholic Bishops mourn with the Norwegian people

The bishops of the Scandinavian Bishops´ Conference have expressed their condolences to the Norwegian people in a letter to the Norwegian Minister of State.

 

With "sadness and horror" they heard the news of the attacks in Oslo and Utøya and refer to these terrible events as "an expression of senseless violence," which bring  "untold misery and despair for many people". (More. ..)

07/24/11

Pope condemns attacks in Norway as' acts of senseless violence

Benedict XVI. calls the Norwegian people to a united and resolute stance against hatred and conflicts

Pope Benedict XVI. has condemned the attacks of Oslo and Utoya as "acts of senseless violence" and expressed his condolences to the families of the victims.

According to a published letter of concolence to King Harald V of Norway, the pope was "deeply saddened" over the many dead and wounded.

Benedict XVI. called the Norwegian population in the face of "national mourning" to a united and resolute stance against hatred and conflict. The Norwegians should without fear go in for mutual respect, solidarity and freedom shaped the future for generations to come.

The Pope assured the victims and their relatives his prayer. The letter is signed by the Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.

The New Evangelisation in Europe to be the focus of the meeting of the General Secretaries and Spokespersons of Europe's Bishops' Conferences

The theme of the "new" evangelisation in Europe will be at the centre of the work of two consecutive CCEE meetings: the meeting of the General Secretaries which will take place in Vilnius from 16-19 June, and then that of the Media Officers and Spokespersons of the Bishops' Conferences which will take place from 18-21 June also in the Lithuanian capital. For the first time, CCEE is bringing together the General Secretaries and the Spokespersons to discuss together the issue of Church communication. (further information here)

The congregation for the doctrine of faith publishes a document to help the bishops´ conferences to develop guidelines for dealing with cases of sexual abuses of minors perpetrated by clerics

It is necessary that the the Church, in the person of the Bishop or his delegate, should be prepared to listen to the victims and their families, and to be committed to their spiritual and psychological assistance.  Programs of education and prevention have to be established and it is important to cooperate with the civil authorities within their responsibilities.

Here you can read the whole document.

05/05/11

Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei"

Today the pontificial commission "Ecclesia Dei" has published the Instruction on the application of the apostolic letter Summorum Pontificum of his holiness Benedict XVI. given Motu Proprio.

The instruction is named "Universae Ecclesiae" and is signed by Cardinal William Levada, the president of the congregation for the doctrin of faith.

Pope Benedict XVI. points out that "there is no "contradiction between the two editions of the Roman Missal. In the history of the Liturgy growth and progress are found, but not a rupture. What was sacred for prior generations, remains sacred and great for us as well, and cannot be suddenly prohibited altogether or even judged harmful." 

The whole instruction you can read here in english:

03/14/11

Press-release of the Nordic Bishops' Conference

The presence of numerous Pakistani immigrants in the Nordic countries leads us to express our great grief over the recent assassination of Shahbaz Bhatti, the Pakistani minister for minorities, killed, in Islamabad, at the age of 42 by a group of religious extremists. Inspired by a living faith in Christ, he always was a defender of the oppressed since his early youth. (more)

The Scandinavian Bishops' Conference Spring Session,
Jerusalem, 31 January - 7 February 2011
Solidarity with Christians in the Holy Land - Bishop Arborelius re-elected President

In the urgent matter of child-abuse the Church needs more detailed and comprehensive regulations than the State, and proposed texts for this purpose were discussed in detail at the Conference's meeting in Jerusalem. Because of the differences in the civil legislation in our countries, it appears impossible to issue an identical set of regulations for all dioceses. A theological introduction to the guidelines, however, is prepared and common definitions of sexual abuse and measures to protect children and prevent abuse are being formalised. These two chapters will be completed by specific regulations for each of the five countries.

For the first time in the history of the Conference, the Bishops assembled in Jerusalem and visited the city's holy places as pilgrims, engaged in talks with local Church leaders and faithful, and were impressed with the open-mindedness and courage expressed by those they met.

The history of the Church in Jerusalem is our history; the future of this Church deeply concerns and affects us all, the Bishops agreed when they summed up their impressions. Our shared hope is that Jerusalem will become a city of peace and thus of prophetic importance for all Jews, Muslims and Christians.

The Permanent Council was re-elected for a period of four years: President Bishop Anders Arborelius (Stockholm); Vice-President, Bishop Czeslaw Kozon (Copenhagen); member of the Council, Bishop Bernt Eidsvig (Oslo); Secretary-General, Sr. Anna Mirijam Kaschner, CPS.

Press-release of the Nordic Bishops´ Conference about the bomb-attack in Alexandria

PRESS STATEMENT FROM THE NORDIC BISHOPS' CONFERENCE January 5 2011.

 

                    "With deep sorrow, have we, the Roman Catholic bishops in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, received the news  of yet another destruction of a church in the Middle East, this time in Alexandria. Numerous Coptic Christians were murdered. Only a very short time after the massacre in the Syrian-Catholic cathedral in Baghdad, we learn that new acts of terror are directed against the vulnerable Christian minority in this part of the world.

                    We, therefore, strongly appeal to the authorities in these countries forcefully and wholeheartedly to protect the Christians and their holy sites. Also, we encourage the governments of our Nordic countries to defend the right to religious freedom and intervene for the protection all religious minorities in the Middle East and elsewhere.

We are pleased to notice that Pope Benedict will invite leaders of all faiths to Assisi this autumn. His intention is to enhance the co-operation and dialogue between religious leaders and to promote peace and justice. Together with the faithful of all persuasions, we will oppose violence and force in the name of religion , whoever the victims happen to be .

It has long been a priority of this Bishops' Conference to assemble in Jerusalem in February this year. Our intention is, within the gates of the Holy City, to make our involvement in these matters evident and to pray for justice and peace."

 

Bishop Anders Arborelius OCD

               President of the

    Nordic Bishops´ Conference

11/22/10

Post-synodal apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini

The Holy Father today released his post-synodal apostolic exhortation Verbum Domini (The Word of the Lord) - a reflection on the 2008 Twelfth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops which was devoted to "The Word of God in the Life and the Mission of the Church."

Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, told a Vatican press conference today that the purpose of the document is to communicate the results of the Synod; rediscover the Word of God - a source of constant ecclesial renewal; to promote the Bible among pastors; to help the faithful become witnesses of the Word of God; to support the new evangelization and ecumenical dialogue; and to foster ever greater love for the Word of God.

The full text of the document, which is being billed as the most important Church document on Holy Scripture since Dei Verbum, the Secon Vatican Council´s Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation (1965), can be found here in the following languages:

English, German, French, Italian and Spanish.

 

 

05/25/10

Plenary meeting d. 02.-07.09.2010

The Scandinavian Bishops´ Conference was gathered in Bergen from 2.-7.9.2010 for their autumn session. Exactly 50 year ago one of the first plenary meetings were held at this place.

The bishops discussed the child abuse cases in the catholic church in Scandinavia. They had invited Mrs. Dr. Bettina Janssen, the juridical expert of the German Bishops´ Conference, who was involved in the preparation of guidelines to deal with this cases. The bishops agreed unanimously that it is urgent to issue common guidelines for the Scandinavian Bishops´ Conference as well with supplements for each country to take the civil law into account.

Although it was an intensive working time the bishops had the opportunity for an outing on Sunday after they had celebratet the Holy Mass together with the local catholic parish. Also the 100 year jubilee of Mother Theresa of Calcutta was celebrated together with the parish and the missionaries of charity.

Here you can find some pictures.

Also the press-release you can find here.

 

05/25/10

Nordic catholic Familiy Congress

The nordic catholic congress on marriage and family was a great success. Around 200 adults and 250 children - mostly from Sweden, but also from the other nordic countries like Norway, Danmark, Finland and Iceland - attended the meeting from the 14th-16th of May 2010 in Jönköping (Sweden). Among the invited people were also the Patriarch of Venice - Cardinal Angelo Scola - and the Auxiliary Bishopf of Birmingham - Bishop William Kenney. One of the participants from Iceland resumed her experiences of this famous congress.

Even Pope Benedict XVI. had sent greetings and blessings to this special occasion. You can see the video here - or read his message.

The bishops of the Scandinavian Bishops´ Conference took the opportunity to introduce a pastoral word concerning marriage and family-life based on the pastoral encyclica "Humanæ Vitæ". The text is available in english, german, danish and icelandic.

 

03/25/10

Ad Limina Visitation of the Scandinavian Bishops´ Conference

SCANDINAVIAN BISHOPS: PROMOTE NEW EVANGELISATION
 
VATICAN CITY, 25 MAR 2010 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican , Benedict XVI received prelates of the Scandinavian Episcopal Conference who have just completed their "ad limina" visit. Addressing them in English, the Holy Father recalled the fact that their flock "is small in number, and scattered over a wide area. Many have to travel great distances in order to find a Catholic community in which to worship. It is most important for them to realise that every time they gather around the altar for the Eucharistic sacrifice, they are participating in an act of the universal Church, in communion with all their fellow Catholics throughout the world".
 
  Referring then to the Congress on the Family, due to be held at Jonkoping, Sweden, in May, he told the prelates that "one of the most important messages that the people of the Nordic lands need to hear from you is a reminder of the centrality of the family for the life of a healthy society. Sadly, recent years have seen a weakening of the commitment to the institution of marriage and the Christian understanding of human sexuality that for so long served as the foundation of personal and social relations in European society.
 
  "Children have the right to be conceived, ... brought into the world and brought up within marriage", the Pope added. "In societies with a noble tradition of defending the rights of all their members, one would expect this fundamental right of children to be given priority over any supposed right of adults to impose on them alternative models of family life and certainly over any supposed right to abortion. Since the family is 'the first and indispensable teacher of peace', the most reliable promoter of social cohesion and the best school of the virtues of good citizenship, it is in the interests of all, and especially of governments, to defend and promote stable family life".
 
  "In the Nordic lands, religion has an important role in shaping public opinion and influencing decisions on matters concerning the common good. I urge you, therefore, to continue to convey to the people of your respective countries the Church's teaching on social and ethical questions", said Benedict XVI. He also urged the bishops to show particular pastoral concern for "the many who have experienced difficulties in the wake of the recent financial crisis" and for "married couples in which only one partner is Catholic".

02/10/10

Nordic catholic family congress

The swedish diocese will held a familiy congress from the 14th - 16th of May in Jönköping. This congress, which stands under the topc: "Love and Life" is organized by the commission for Marriage and Family in diocese of Stockholm in cooperation with the Nordic Bishops´ Conference.

Among the speakers on this congress will be the patriarch of Venice - Cardinal Angelo Scola, the leader of the diocesan familiycenter of Oslo - Mrs. Maria E. Fongen and the Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham - William Kenney.

The whole program of the Congress you can find here.

For further information please visit the homepage of the diocese of Stockholm.