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LITTERAE COMMUNIONIS •2016-2017

BELGIUM THE CHURCH AND BELGIAN COLONISATION IN AFRICA A hearing on the question of the mixed race people born as result of the Belgian colonisation in Africa was held in the Senate within the framework of a resolution project which will be presented to the Chamber and the Senate. During colonisation, children with a Belgian father and an African mother were often separated from their families and entrusted to orphanages. In the course of the hearing, the Belgian Catholic Church offered its own apology for the role undertaken in that period. It wants to contribute to the search which some of these people (and their descendants) have begun to clarify their origins or identify their family. In the same way, the Church wants to help those parents wishing to find their own children or the descendants of the latter. SLAUGHTER OF ANIMALS AND FREEDOM OF RELIGION In June, the Walloon Parliament approved unanimously a proposed decree aiming at banning the slaughter of animals without prior stunning. The law would come into effect for ritual slaughter on 1 September 2019. Given the extent of social debate about the issue, the Christian Churches, even if not directly involved, made their voice heard on the issue. The bishops warned not to criticise the slaughter of animals in the absence of stunning by using it as a cover for a contemptuous discusssion about our Jewish and Muslim co-citiziens. The freedom of religion constitutes an essential element of the democratic system. The bishops called on politicians to draw up procedures which harmonise as far as is possible hygiene, public health and the well-being of animals with the fundamental right of religious freedom. RELATIONS WITH THE FEDERAL AUTHORITY The federal Authority (represented by the Prime Minister and the Justice Minister) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the representatives of the recognised religions and the laity with a view to the creation of a body of permanent dialogue between them. NEWS FROM THE EPISCOPAL COMMISSIONS The Bishops’ Conference has three episcopal

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B E L G I U M

PRESIDENT HIS EMINENCE CARDINAL JOZEF DE KESEL ARCHBISHOP OF MALINES-BRUXELLES

SECRETARY GENERAL MGR. HERMAN COSIJNS

commissions: a theological commission, a commission for evangelisation and a commission for the diaconate. As analytical and reflective entities in the pastoral areas entrusted to them, they define the main guidelines for the work to be undertaken and issues to be discussed. Comprising various bishops and chaired by one of them, they turn to permanent collaborators and experts with regard to the issues under discussion. PASTORAL RELATIONS WITH MINORS: A RESOURCE The bishops have established a Supervisory Council for Monitoring and Directing of perpetrators of sexual abuse or transgressional behaviour in pastoral relations with minors within the Catholic Church in Belgium. The Supervisory Council contributes to an optimal realisation of the guidelines which the Bishops and the Major Superiors have committed to implementing. INTER-DIOCESAN COMMISSION FOR RELIGIOUS PATRIMONY Those in charge of the patrimony (or the Church’s temporal goods) of the French-speaking episcopate have established an Interdiocesan Commission for religious patrimony. It suggests to the bishops a strategy and joint directives in matters of conservation, inventory, protection and valuation of religious patrimony. Since 1997, the Flemish dioceses and the Flemish Major Superiors have had a body with responsibility for protecting religious patrimony, the Center for Sacred Art and Culture (CRKC). EPISCOPAL MEETINGS The bishops devoted their working session to a reflection on the pastoral care of the family, starting from Amoris laetitia and from developments in local pastoral work. The main issues discussed in the meetings of the Bishops’ Conference: implementation of Amoris laetitia, drafting of a new dossier on marriage, the correct management of church property, rejection of euthanasia. DOCUMENTS PUBLISHED The bishops published a Pastoral Letter Amoris laetitia with the aim of making the ideas and

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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