At their 110th plenary, bishops supported Chinese Catholics

10. 07. 2017
On July 6–7, 2017, the 110th plenary meeting of the Czech Bishops’ Conference took place in Velehrad. The participants supported the Catholics in China, invited people to the National Pilgrimage to Fatima and planned how to develop a long-term cooperation with municipalities.

Photo: František Jemelka / Press Office of the Czech Bishops’ Conference

In the opening session of the plenary, a guest from the Vatican, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops Cardinal Marc Ouellet, offered some thoughts about the role and mission of bishops’ conferences. He spoke about the possibility that these institutions may further develop into some umbrella organizations that fulfill the missionary and pastoral tasks of the Church. He stressed that great efforts must be used in this area and that everyone is responsible for the Church, reminding all the present bishops that they must face the problems together and that their work in dioceses cannot be detached from the activities of the bishops’ conference.

The gathering was addressed by another guest as well – Msgr. Milan Šášik, Greek Catholic bishop and eparch of the Greek Catholic Eparchy of Mukachevo. He informed about the complicated situation in Ukraine (conflict in the eastern part of the country, resettlement, inflation, falling of the real value of old-age pensions etc.). The bishops’ conference agreed that a survey should be made of the current help of the Czech Church to Ukraine and consequently a study of needs together with a conception of the help of the Czech Bishops’ Conference and other subjects to the Eparchy of Mukachevo should be created.

The Czech Bishops’ Conference decided to support the initiative for the release of and getting topical information on Bishop Peter Shao Zhumin from the Chinese underground Church. At the same time, the conference appreciates the efforts of Bishop Emeritus of Hong Kong, Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, for the improvement of the situation of the Chinese Catholics.

Bishops agreed that now, as the property settlement procedure is finished, they wish to initiate a long-term cooperation with the representatives of municipalities through the Union of Towns and Municipalities and the Association of the Regional Administrations. This cooperation should be based upon concluding specific memoranda to start a long-term mutual support and cooperation that is fruitful for both parties.

The participants approved a letter on the occasion of the National Pilgrimage to Fatima; the letter is to be read in all churches on Sept. 3, 2017, and the pilgrimage is planned to Sept. 12–13.

A Czech delegation to the conference on the Christian contribution to the future development of the EU was presented. The conference, organized by the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the EU (COMECE), would take place in Rome on Oct. 27–29, 2017. Among the participant from the Czech Republic will be members of the European Parliament Michaela Šojdrová and Pavel Svoboda, general secretary of the Czech Bishops’ Conference Father Stanislav Přibyl, member of the Czech parliament Ondřej Benešík, former interior minister Alexandr Vondra, former diplomat Pavel Fischer and theologian Jakub Jinek.

The next plenary, on Oct. 23–25, 2017, will take place in Prague.

Author: Jiří Gračka