Catholic World News

Prelates report on growth of Church in Norway, anti-ecumenism in Romania, Islam and Freemasonry in Africa

October 15, 2012

On October 13, the conclusion of the first week of the Thirteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, 39 synod fathers spoke on various aspects of the new evangelization.

Patriarch Francesco Moraglia called for a greater attention to the content of catechesis based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church. “The faith is not supported by a catechesis that is friendly towards reason,” he said, adding that “methodology is important but not at the expense of content.”

Archbishop Nikolaos Foskolos of Athens, said that “to evangelize the world, the Church must be more ‘streamlined’: as David was unable to confront Goliath with the heavy weapons given to him by Saul, so the Church must abandon many of the usages of from medieval Europe (material and spiritual structures, ways of speaking, habits “of the old times”, etc), and, as the mystical Body of Christ resurrected, must proclaim the Gospel of salvation to the modern world, maintaining unchanged its doctrine and its true Tradition.”

He added:

She must act not as a world power, nor as a European power, and offer the Gospel to the world, the joyful proclamation, preaching Christ who died and was resurrected to all in a clear and unequivocal fashion, as did the Apostles and the great missionaries, such as Saint Francis Xavier.
Other prelates offered illuminating portraits of the challenges facing the Church in their nations.

Romanian Bishop Petru Gherghel said that “the end of the atheist [Communist] persecution has opened the doors to a promising ecumenical springtime. We have never abandoned prayer, but since a recent ordinance of the Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church has forbidden any prayer between Orthodox and Catholic faithful, we find ourselves forced to beseech God, before our brother delegates: ‘Please Lord, allow at least the Lord’s Prayer to unite our children!’”

Bishop Berislav Grgic of Tromso said that the Church in Norway is experiencing noticeable growth. “New churches are built or bought, new parishes are instituted, non-Latin rites are added, there is a relatively high number of adult conversions and baptisms, there are vocations to priesthood and to religious life, the number of baptisms is much higher than the number of deaths and number of those who abandon the Church, and attendance at Sunday Mass is relatively high,” he said.

Bishop Marko Semren, an auxiliary bishop in Bosnia-Herzegovina, said that the “ethnic and religious cleansing” of Catholics in the 1990s. “Of the 830,000 Catholics, 465,000 were made to leave their homes and their native residences,” he said. “367,000 Catholic expatriates never returned … A hedonistic mentality has entered, the culture of the dead: drugs and other addictions.”

Bishop Nicodème Anani Barrigah-Bénissan of Atakpamé spoke of the challenges posed by radical Islam and Freemasonry in the West African nation of Togo.

“The rapid expansion of Islam and especially the spreading of fundamentalism in West Africa enormously worry the Church,” he said. “It only takes one day to become Muslim; but it is impossible to renounce this religion later. On the other hand, the preparation of catechumens lasts from three to four years in our dioceses; yet the baptized may quit the Catholic faith easily.”

“Secret and esoteric societies, especially the Freemasons, reign as masters at the head of the State, in the most important institutions and in all the intellectual circles of our country,” he added.

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