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LITTERAE COMMUNIONIS •2016-2017

AUSTRIA AID FOR ASYLUM-SEEKERS AND REFUGEES AND THEIR INTEGRATION Again in the year 2016 aid given to those who state they are fleeing from war or personal persecution was an important issue in the life of the Church. Through its own parishes, religious communities and the organisations of Caritas, the Church, after the State, is the main institution in the country which helps asylumseekers. As well as the need for concrete help, the Bishops underline the importance of integration (see document). As a concrete contribution to integration, the Bishops’ Conference has published a booklet entitled “Grüß Gott in Österreich” in German, English, Arabic and Farsi, aimed at all asylumseekers in Austria, It is “an introduction to a country with Christian roots”, with more than 40,000 copies distributed to date. In the debate about banning the veil, the Bishops took different stances: as regards the full veil, like the burqa, though not well-accepted by society it should not be forbidden by law. Rather than introducing a general ban, the Bishops proposed regulating and justifying in detail when it is necesary to show one’s face, for example in school or in law courts. Furthermore, it must be ensured that “no one, for any reason, is ever forced to wear the veil”, especially when “this obligation applies solely to women” – the news release called for “successful integration”. 500TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE REFORMATION To mark 500 years since the Reformation, for the first time, at the invitation of the Bishops’ Conference, there was a joint meeting with the leaders of the Evangelical Church and the Reformed Church in Austria (8-9 November). The liturgical climax of the event was an ecumenical celebration. In the framework of this important ecumenical meeting there was also the approval of a joint statement entitled “500 years from the Reformation – from opposition to collaboration”. There were numerous ecumencial events organised throughout Austria to commemorate this anniversary. For the first time, for example, the Bishops’ Conference along with the Lutheran, Reformed and Methodist Churches, decided to award an “ecumenical prize”.

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A U S T R I A

PRESIDENT HIS EMINENCE CARDINAL CHRISTOPH SCHÖNBORN ARCHBISHOP OF VIENNA

SECRETARY GENERAL REV. PETER SCHIPKA

2017 ELECTIONS OF THE PARISH COUNCILS On 19 March, about 3,000 Austrian parishes elected new members of their parish councils. About 900,000 Catholics, so 20% of those having rights, voted. About 28,000 people, men and women, will exercise their mandate on a voluntary basis for a five-year term of office. “DOCAT” To achieve a translation of the Church’s social teaching usuable by young people, and to re-launch social commitment: these are the objectives of “DOCAT”, the new social catechism for young people which, just like “YOUCAT”, has been published by the Austrian Conference in a variety of langauges. “DOCAT” was launched in advance of World Youth Day in Krakow, and distributed by Pope Francis as a gift to young people. The book is accompanied by a smartphone app. EVENTS, APPOINTMENTS AND DOCUMENTS At the Plenary Assembly last November, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn was re-elected as President of the Bishops’ Conference. The Assembly also chose to re-elect the General Secretary, Peter Schipka. Both posts have a six-year mandate. Pope Francis has appointed Hansjörg Hofer, hitherto Vicar General in Salzburg, new Auxiliary Bishop of the city. The ordination took place on 8 July. The Bishops’ Conference arranged for the review of the guidelines drawn up in 2010 on abuse and cases of violence within the Church. Once approved by the Congregation for the Dcotrine of the Faith, the directives were published.

Litterae Communions 2017 (English version)  

CCEE Litterae communionis contains the annual report (June 2016 - June 2017) of Bishops' Conferences in Europe.

Litterae Communions 2017 (English version)  

CCEE Litterae communionis contains the annual report (June 2016 - June 2017) of Bishops' Conferences in Europe.

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