Aug 17

“Rural Areas in Upheaval”

Renovabis – “Active solidarity of the German Roman Catholics with the people of Central and Eastern Europe” – will hold its annual conference on 1-3 September 2011. This year’s conference is devoted to the erosion of the quality of life in the Eastern European countryside. Theme: “Rural Areas in Upheaval”. Can the Churches in Eastern Europe somehow contribute to a solution? Continue reading

Jul 01

Fugetive

In the 1960s, the American television network ABC aired the serial “The Fugitive“. A man, doctor Richard Kimble, is wrongly accused of murdering his wife and subsequently condemned to death. By chance he manages to escape. While on the run from the police he is trying to find the culprit and in the final episode he succeeds in doing so.
No happy ending today, however, for refugees who got stuck somewhere on the border of the European Union. At the end of June 2011, the Jesuit Refugee Service Europe published an account of the detention of asylum seekers in Ukraine: No other options. It paints a grim picture of their life. Continue reading

May 30

Greed is Gross

“Greed … is good”, corporate raider Gordon Gekko recites in the Oliver Stone movie Wall Street. Apparently, however, many Europeans do not view greed as something good at all. Statistics show that no less than 23% of all EU citizens aged over 15 years are involved in voluntary work. This means that some 100 million Europeans of all ages, from all walks of life, and from various religious and non-religious backgrounds are committed to offering free time and talents to a good cause; or to what they think is a good cause – opinions may differ. This year 2011 Europe celebrates the European Year of Volunteering: voluntary work and volunteers get their due recognition. Continue reading

May 10

Solidarity

The word “solidarity” has an interesting history, I learned at the Sozialethik-Symposium: “Solidarität in der Krise” from 28 to 30 April 2011 in Vienna-Mödling. This conference was organised by the Institut für Sozialethik der Katholisch-Theologischen Fakultät (Vienna) and the Vereinigung für katholische Sozialethik in Mitteleuropa. Ever since the Middle Ages, one of the guest speakers explained, solidarity was the individual’s legal responsibility to pay collective debts. It meant, for example, that if two or more business partners had taken out a loan collectively, and one of them would go bankrupt, the remaining partner(s) had to repay the entire sum (“solidum”). Continue reading