Pressemelding fra Den nordiske bispekonferanse

Den nordiske bispekonferanse avsluttet tirsdag den 8. september sitt høstmøte i København. Samlingen startet med messe i St Ansgar domkirke i Bredgade, som ble konsekrert i 1865 og dermed feirer sitt 150-årsjubileum i år.

Den apostloske nuntius til de nordiske land, erkebiskop Henryk Józef Nowacki, var også tilstede under samlingens første møter.

I en pressemelding uttrykker biskopene bekymring for de kristne i Cremisan-dalen på Vestbredden, hvis livsgrunnlag rammes grunnet den israelske delingsmuren. I lys av flyktningsituasjonen i Europa ber de «alle mennesker av god vilje om å åpne sine hjerter for dem som lider, og til sjenerøst å hjelpe». I anledning ordenslivets år fremheves klostrenes økumeniske rolle i Norden. På tross av at enkelte ordenshus har måttet stenge på grunn av lite kall, gir de senere års nye klostergrunnleggelser håp og fremtidstro, skriver biskopene.

Les hele pressemeldingen under.

Bishop Czeslaw Kozon (Copenhagen) was elected President of the Nordic Bishops’ Conference for a period of four years. He succeeds Bishop Anders Arborelius (Stockholm), President for the last ten years. Bishop Arborelius was elected Vice-President and Bishop Teemu Sippo (Helsinki) member of the Permanent Council. Bishop Arborelius was thanked by his colleagues for good leadership, patience and kindness. Sister Anna Mirijam Kaschner CPS was re-elected Secretary General.

The Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Henryk Nowacki, was present at opening of the Session and at the celebration of the jubilee of the Catholic Cathedral of St. Ansgar in Copenhagen: 250 years ago, at a time when the Catholic faith was not tolerated in Denmark, the Austrian Embassy built a chapel in Bredgade. This was replaced by the present Cathedral, consecrated 150 years ago.

The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre held its first investiture in Denmark. Two knights were received into the order by the Grand Master, Edwin Cardinal O’Brien. The Cardinal met the Bishops to discuss matters of common interest. The Bishops of Copenhagen, Helsinki, Oslo and Stockholm are Grand-Priors of the Order in their countries.

Israel and Palestine
The present situation in Israel and Palestine gives reason to great worry because of discrimination against Christian schools and the extremely high number of refugees in Jordan and Lebanon. The Bishops find it impossible to accept that a wall is being built through the predominantly Christian Cremisan Valley, allegedly for reasons of security. The Catholic Bishops in the Nordic Countries, appeal to their Governments to protest formally against these acts of discrimination.

The Conference issued two pastoral letters, on refugees and immigrants, and on religious life. The Bishops appreciate the work of the Nordic governments to help the victims of terror in Syria, Iraq and other countries. Hundreds of thousands flee their countries hoping to find a peaceful existence in Europe. The Bishops are, however, shocked that racist and xenophobic attitudes seem to be the reaction of many to the suffering of innocent people. They want to remind all Catholics of the parable of the Good Samaritan; Christ’s commandment to love the weak and those in need is as valid today as it was when he proclaimed it. Also, the Bishops want to encourage all men and women of good will to open their hearts to the suffering, and generously to help them.

Religious Life
Pope Francis has dedicated this present year (November 2014 to February 2016) to the Church’s religious communities and orders. Ever since the early history of the Church, men and women dedicating their lives to prayer and the good of others, have inspired the faith of others. They have educated the children, fed the hungry and nursed the sick, to mention just a few aspects of religious life.

In the Nordic countries, the religious orders and congregations have made great sacrifices to establish parishes, hospitals and schools. The contemplative houses are of particular importance to those who look for spiritual guidance, peace of mind and inspiration to pray. These monasteries are ecumenical in the sense that they attract and serve people who belong to other churches – or none – as well as Catholics. The Bishops are concerned that some religious communities have closed their houses because of a lack of vocations; they, as well as the faithful, are encouraged by the religious houses that have been established in recent years.

The German Ansgarwerke
German Catholics have for many years taken on a particular responsibility for the Dioceses in the Nordic countries and, among other things, made several building projects and pastoral undertakings possible. There are four diocesan organisations, Ansgarwerke (named after the important missionary to Northern Europe), established for these purposes (Munich, Cologne, Munster and Osnabruck/Hamburg). There is also an Ansgarwerk in Switzerland. Over the years, these have done much to assist and support the Church in our countries. Representatives of the Ansgarwerke were invited to present themselves and, together with the Bishops, exchange ideas about further co-operation. The Bishops expressed their thanks and hopes for the future. This gratitude also includes the oldest organisation for Catholics in the diaspora – Bonifatiuswerk, from which the church in Nordic Countries receives great support.

Ecumenical Commemoration of the Reformation
Bishop Arborelius informed the Bishops about the preparation of a common Lutheran and Roman-Catholic commemoration of the Reformation in Lund, Sweden. The official arrangement will take place on 31 October 2016. The Bishops will issue a Pastoral Letter on this occasion.

Magleås, 8th September 2015 – feast of the Nativity of Mary