EUROPE: CHURCHES NOW PARTNERS IN DIALOGUE IN EU
AMERICAS: COSTA RICA: 50,000 PARTICIPATE IN MARCH FOR LIFE
ASIA: INDIA: KERALA YOUTH MOVEMENT TO IMPACT ELECTIONS
AUSTRALIA: RIGHT TO LIFE IS HAPPY ABOUT ABBOTT'S STATEMENT
Thanks to this Article, Churches and religious communities will be able to strengthen their Dialogue with the European Commission, Council and Parliament and so contribute more efficiently to reflecting on European policy.
Inspired by Catholic social teaching and strengthened by their background experience, Churches will be enabled to pursue a critical and constructive Dialogue with EU decision makers on the policies put forward by the EU.
Today, on the eve of a new decade, the same urgent challenges preoccupy both the EU and the Churches, namely: The promotion of the dignity of every Human being, Solidarity with the weakest in our societies, an economy which puts the human being at its heart, solidarity among generations and towards developing countries, climate change and preservation of Creation, the welcoming of migrants and intercultural dialogue.
The Churches in Europe therefore welcome the dialogue between the European Union and the Churches and religious communities as an instrument allowing them to partner the EU more effectively so that it becomes a Community of peoples and values, aware of its responsibility, united and welcoming.
In the recent years, a practical dialogue had already been established between the European Institutions and COMECE and its ecumenical partners. Thanks to this “practical dialogue”, the trust between European institutions and Churches has increased over the years. COMECE now wishes this dialogue to intensify and deepen, on the basis of Article 17. COMECE calls on Churches and Christians all over Europe to seize this dialogue opportunity, based on their expertise and their humanity, to make a contribution to the European project.
COMECE, together with its ecumenical partners from CEC (Conference of European Churches), will make soon specific proposals to the European Commission, Parliament and Council on how to develop this dialogue into regular institutional practice.
Article 17 (the former Article I-52 of the Constitutional Treaty) is part of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and reads as follows:
1. The Union respects and does not prejudice the status under national law of churches and religious associations or communities in the Member States.
2. The Union equally respects the status under national law of philosophical and non-confessional organisations.
3. Recognising their identity and their specific contribution, the Union shall maintain an open, transparent and regular dialogue with these churches and organisations.
Visit Comece.eu (SOURCE: http://www.catholic-ew.org.uk/index.php/ccb/catholic_church/media_centre/press_releases/press_releases_2009/churches_become_official_dialogue_partners_for_the_european_union
The address commits participants “to defend all human life” from conception to natural death. It also urges that marriage and the family be protected, “and for this reason we oppose, and we call on our representatives in the executive branch, legislative assembly and municipalities to reject any bill, policy or institutional activity” to the contrary.
“We are committed to exercising our sacred right to vote in a responsible way, voting for those who propose and are committed to defending and promoting human life, marriage and family in public office,” the statement indicated.
INDIA: KERALA YOUTH MOVEMENT TO IMPACT ELECTIONS
UCAN reports that the Kerala Catholic Youth Movement (KCYM) is getting ready to maximize its impact on local body elections due in the southern Indian state next September.
The Church has "great influence" on Kerala's electoral politics, says Joseph Thomas, the movement's president. The leading players in the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) often seek its support during elections, he noted.
Thomas told UCA News that Christians have supported one or the other group in the past, but neither has ever bothered about the Christian community after an election.
"We have decided to get involved in politics, because only through active participation can we change the present corrupt politics and influence the programs of political parties," he added.
KCYM plans to educate its 900,000 members, spread throughout 4,250 parishes, about their role in politics through leadership programs and seminars on developmental issues.
These preparations come after the LDF government's announcement it will hold elections to the state's 992 village councils, 52 municipal councils and five corporations in September 2010.
Christians form 19 percent of Kerala's 32 million people, but Thomas says only 37 percent of Kerala Christian voters have fixed political affiliations. "The rest are neutral and our strength lies in them," he added.
"We are going to reorient youth for a clean politics and better delivery (on promises) to people. Now elections are contested on promises that are not kept."
The Catholic youth leader clarified that his movement has no plan to field candidates. "We will support our members who can contest the elections as independents, or on the party lines who accept our ideology," he explained.
KCYM has also published a document, stating its political vision for the period 2010-2020. "Our major thrust is to empower youth politically," Thomas said.
The LDF came to power in 2006 with support from Catholic strongholds but later ran a campaign against Church leaders for opposing policies that included controls on Church educational institutions.
Meanwhile, on Nov. 29, Archbishop Maria Calist Soosa Pakiam of Trivandrum issued a pastoral letter stressing the need for Latin-rite Catholics to run in elections to local bodies, which get 30 percent of government development funds.
"Now, most people are passive in village council meetings. This has led to the neglect of areas dominated by Latin Catholics," the archbishop told UCA News.
The pastoral letter, read in all parishes of the 11 Latin-rite dioceses in Kerala during Sunday Masses, appealed to youths to develop leadership skills and serve society.
Two Oriental Catholic Churches -- the Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankara Churches -- are also based in Kerala. They and the Latin-rite Church form the Indian Catholic Church.
HIV INFECTIONS HAVE BEEN REDUCED 17%
"He hasn't promised us anything for sure but we're excited by the idea of Abbott," the group's president Veronica Andrews told AAP, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
She hoped Mr Abbott would use his position to speak out against abortion and voluntary euthanasia in parliament.
Ms Andrews said former prime minister John Howard was not receptive to her group's concerns about allowing the morning-after drug RU486 into Australia, adding that former opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull did not share its anxieties.
In October 2006, as health minister, Mr Abbott refused to allow the abortion drug to be made available in Australia. It led to a conscience vote in the Parliament that deprived the health minister of regulatory control of the drug, the report added.
Feast: December 2
4th century in Rome
against epilepsy, against hangovers, against headaches, against insanity, against mental illness, epileptics, mentally ill people, single laywomen, torture victims
The earliest mention in an authentic historical authority of St. Bibiana (Vibiana), a Roman female martyr, occurs in the "Liber Pontificalis" where in the biography of Pope Simplicius (468-483) it is stated that this pope "consecrated a basilica of the holy martyr Bibiana, which contained her body, near the 'palatium Licinianum'" (ed. Duchesne, I, 249). This basilica still exists. In the fifth century, therefore, the bodily remains of St. Bibiana rested within the city walls. We have no further historical particulars concerning the martyr or the circumstances of her death; neither do we know why she was buried in the city itself. In later times a legend sprang up concerning her, connected with the Acts of the martyrdom of Sts. John and Paul and has no historical claim to belief. According to this legend, Bibiana was the daughter of a former prefect, Flavianus, who was banished by Julian the Apostate. Dafrosa, the wife of Flavianus, and his two daughters, Demetria and Bibiana, were also persecuted by Julian. Dafrosa and Demetria died a natural death and were buried by Bibiana in their own house; but Bibiana was tortured and died as a result of her sufferings. Two days after her death a priest named John buried Bibiana near her mother and sister in her home, the house being later turned into a church. It is evident that the legend seeks to explain in this way the origin of the church and the presence in it of the bodies of the above mentioned confessors. The account contained in the martyrologies of the ninth century is drawn from the legend.
Matthew 15: 29 - 37
And Jesus went on from there and passed along the Sea of Galilee. And he went up on the mountain, and sat down there.
And great crowds came to him, bringing with them the lame, the maimed, the blind, the dumb, and many others, and they put them at his feet, and he healed them,
so that the throng wondered, when they saw the dumb speaking, the maimed whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel.
Then Jesus called his disciples to him and said, "I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with me now three days, and have nothing to eat; and I am unwilling to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way."
And the disciples said to him, "Where are we to get bread enough in the desert to feed so great a crowd?"
And Jesus said to them, "How many loaves have you?" They said, "Seven, and a few small fish."
And commanding the crowd to sit down on the ground,
he took the seven loaves and the fish, and having given thanks he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds.
And they all ate and were satisfied; and they took up seven baskets full of the broken pieces left over.