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Signs of hope in Europe and in the world

Warsaw, 02 July 2013: "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!". 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.The theme of the meeting was the new evangelization ten years after the Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Europa, during the Year of Faith, revealed a Press release on Monday.

In the last decade the world, Europe included, has suffered severe stress and sudden changes, which were not always desired, coherent, logical and credible. These are some points of the paper in which the Greek-catholic Bishop of Oradea (Romania), Mgr Virgil Bercea, has analysed the situation in Europe today. The disorientation that many social and cultural changes have brought about in the last ten years are, at the same time, cause and effect of some phenomena related to attempts at unravelling the culture of the family and the common good in favour of a purely self-centered, hedonistic and consumerist vision of human life. Although not belonging to the world, the Church is in the world and hence she is called to be a sign of God and therefore a sign of redemption and hope.
As Prof. Paul H. Dembinski, member of the Observatory of Finance of Geneva, pointed out, if we are to meet the challenges of today, we must not get stuck at an exclusively financial approach of life, according to the present-day orientation that tends to change human relationships into simple transactions and to seek for the effectiveness of finance, instead of the fruitfulness of human relationships and then only look at the present and forget about building the future. Bishop Juan Antonio Martinez Camino, secretary of the Spanish Bishops' Conference, stressed the importance of looking deeper into the crisis, reminding us the words by Pope Benedict XVI: "the social question has become a radically anthropological question". It seems clear, therefore, that the spiritual crisis plays a decisive role in the current European situation.
Europe, however, in addition to its economic and spiritual crises, is full of signs of hope, as highlighted in the reports of the secretaries.

The summoning of a Year of Faith has paved the way to the implementation of events designed to awaken faith in all countries of Europe. It is important, however, as recalled by Msgr. Markus Stock, secretary of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, for the Church to have a radical understanding of the new evangelization. The Church is called not so much to react but to be in the forefront in terms of ardour, methods and expression in presenting the always topical content of her faith: Jesus Christ.

There are also many signs of hope coming from the Church in other parts of the world, as witnessed by the Secretary of the Federation of Asian Catholic Bishops' Conferences (FABC), Fr. Raymond O 'Toole, and the Secretary of the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of the Holy Land, Fr. Peter Felet, who intervened as guest speakers. Despite the various difficult situations where Christians live, in which sometimes they are persecuted for their faith, the Church is everywhere a sign of hope, particularly appreciated for its indiscriminate charity in regions and situations which even for States are difficult to reach.
Source: VR Sedoc


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