FECRIS fined for repeated derogatory statements about Jehovah’s Witnesses
FECRIS fined for repeated derogatory statements about Jehovah’s Witnesses

HRWF (09.07.2021) – On 27 November 2020, the District Court of Hamburg condemned FECRIS (European Federation of Centres of Research and Information on Cults and Sect) for defaming the general movement of Jehovah’s Witnesses in public statements made in the framework of its conferences from 2009 to 2017 that were posted later on its website.

Before deciding to go to court, Jehovah’s Witnesses had sent a warning notice via their authorized legal representatives on 18 May 2018 but FECRIS did not react.   The German court verdict in the case Jehovah’s Witnesses in Germany v. FECRIS (File ref. 324 O 434/18) concerned a long list of 32 claimed defamatory statements: 17 were fully justified and one was partially justified by the Court.  

On 30 May 2021, after Bitter Winter had exposed this case, FECRIS published a press release where it claimed that it had “won” the Hamburg case. This was repeated by some FECRIS affiliates in different countries, but it was just an attempt to throw dust in the eyes of those who have not read the decision. The court decision is available in German and in English on HRWF website.

Since the Jehovah’s Witnesses had claimed that 32 FECRIS statements were defamatory, and the court found 17 of them defamatory, one partially defamatory, and 14 non-defamatory, FECRIS claimed that it had “won” the case since the 14 statements declared non-defamatory were “essential,” and the 18 points for which they were sentenced were “ancillary.”

See full analysis on: https://hrwf.eu/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Germany-2021.pdf

And another article on: https://hrwf.eu/germany-fecris-sentenced-for-slanderous-statements-about-jehovahs-witnesses/

Lukashenko announced an attempt to “break Orthodoxy” in Belarus
Lukashenko announced an attempt to “break Orthodoxy” in Belarus

During the protests in Belarus, they tried to attract churches of different confessions, Lukashenko said. Earlier, the authorities canceled the passport of the head of the Belarusian Catholics – he was indignant that protesters were blocked in the church during the rally

External forces are trying to “break Orthodoxy” in Belarus. This was stated by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko at a meeting with the clergy in the Zhirovichi Monastery, BelTA informs.

According to him, now the country is going through turbulent times. Lukashenko recalled that external forces tried to “shake” and “break” Belarus, then they “moved on to a powerful information attack and economic strangulation.”

“One of them (we have seen this recently, and we have recently discussed this topic with our patriarch) is an attempt to break Orthodoxy in Belarus,” he said.

Lukashenko spoke about attempts to involve churches in undermining the situation in the country, and that many Catholic churches succumbed. Moreover, he added, there were “certain vacillations” among the Orthodox, but in the end the Orthodox Church coped with it.

In September last year, about two months after the start of mass protests in Belarus, the director of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) Sergei Naryshkin reported on the attempts of the US authorities to “raise anti-government sentiment” among Belarusian Catholics in order to spur those on protests.

He also warned of possible provocations that are being prepared for a clash between Catholics and Orthodox. Prior to that, the Belarusian authorities declared invalid the passport of the head of the Conference of Catholic Bishops, Metropolitan of Minsk-Mogilev Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, which deprived him of the right to return to Belarus.

At the end of August, Kondrusevich called the actions of the security forces, who blocked the people in the Red Church in Minsk during the dispersal of the protesters, as a gross violation of the rights of believers and freedom of religion. Later, he admitted that “there is reason to believe that the presidential elections in Belarus were not fair.”

ELSiA invites you to join webinar on LIFE programme
ELSiA invites you to join webinar on LIFE programme

 

ELSiA invites you to join webinar on LIFE programme

Following up from the Laudato Si’ Reflection Day 2021, the European Laudato Si’ Alliance (ELSiA) is organizing an ad hoc webinar to discover more about the LIFE programme, the EU flagship funding instrument for the environment and climate action. The event will take place online Wednesday July 7th 2021, at 14:30 (CEST).

Through the webinar you will be able to discover the LIFE programme, which has co-financed thousands of projects since its creation in 1992 and could be a great tool to support Laudato Si’ inspired activities and projects.

The webinar will take place online Wednesday July 7th, starting at 14:30 (CEST). Angelo Salsi, Head of Department D – Natural Resources, Climate, Sustainable Blue Economy and Clean Energy and Christian Strasser, Head of unit D.1 – LIFE Energy + LIFE Climate will present the programme and respond to all your questions.

The webinar will end at 16:00 (CEST) and it will be in English and German with interpretation in French, Italian and Spanish. You can register here.

The European Laudato Si’ Alliance (ELSi’A) is a network of Catholic organisations with the aim to adapt the comprehensive approach of the encyclical letter Laudato Si’ and related Church teachings to a European context with a special focus on the institutions of the European Union. COMECE is a founding member of ELSiA. To connect with the alliance, you may contact Cinzia Verzeletti, ELSiA coordinator.

Wednesday July 7th 2021

From 14:30 to 16:00 (CEST)

.:: PosterRegistration ::.

Survey finds Jews worry about anti-Semitism
Survey finds Jews worry about anti-Semitism
(Photo illustration/Pew Research Center)

Jewish Americans tend to be white and although many participate, at least occasionally, in some traditional religious practices, they are less religious than the rest of the country, a Pew Research Center survey has found.

The survey released on May 21 looks at what it means to be Jewish in the United States and most of them care about Israel, though one in 10 supports the movement to boycott it.

These include going to a synagogue or fasting on Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement)– and in some Jewish cultural activities, like making potato latkes, watching Israeli movies or reading Jewish news online.

The survey looked at Jewish identity in the United States, 2020, asking What does it mean to be Jewish in America?

On May 11, in earlier research of U.S Jews, Pew Research said that there are 7.5 million Jews of all ages in the United States, or 2.4 percent of the total population in the country.

Pew said a further 1.4 million adults (0.6 percent) have a Jewish affinity. Though they lack a Jewish parent or upbringing and do not identify as Jewish by religion, these adults consider themselves Jewish in some other way.

The survey found that U.S. Jews are culturally engaged, increasingly diverse, politically polarized and worried about anti-Semitism.

Among young Jewish adults, however, two sharply divergent expressions of Jewishness appear to be gaining ground says Pew.

One involves religion deeply enmeshed in every aspect of life, and the other involving little or no religion at all.

Overall, about a quarter of U.S. Jewish adults (27 percent) do not identify with the Jewish religion.

They consider themselves to be Jewish ethnically, culturally or by family background and have a Jewish parent or were raised Jewish.

JEWS WHO DON’T FOLOW A  RELIGION

However they answer a question about their current religion by describing themselves as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular” rather than as Jewish.

Among Jewish adults under 30, four-in-ten describe themselves this way.

At the same time, younger Jewish adults are much more likely than older Jews to identify as Orthodox. Among Jews ages 18 to 29, 17 percent self-identify as Orthodox, compared with just 3 percent of Jews 65 and older.

And fully one-in-ten U.S. Jewish adults under the age of 30 are Haredim, or ultra-Orthodox (11percent), compared with 1percent of Jews 65 and older.

The two branches of Judaism that long predominated in the U.S. have less of a hold on young Jews than on their elders.

Roughly four-in-ten Jewish adults under 30 identify with either Reform (29 percent) or Conservative Judaism (8percent), compared with seven-in-ten Jews ages 65 and older.

Compared with older Jews, youngest Jewish adults include larger shares of both Orthodox and people with no denominational identity.

In other words, the youngest U.S. Jews count among their ranks both a relatively large share of traditionally observant, Orthodox Jews.

There is an even larger group of people who see themselves as Jewish for cultural, ethnic or family reasons but do not identify with Judaism – as a religion – at all.

Many people in both groups participate, at least sometimes, in the same cultural activities, such as cooking traditional Jewish foods, visiting Jewish historical sites and listening to Jewish or Israeli music.

Yet the survey finds that most people in the latter group (Jews of no religion) feel they have not much or nothing at all in common with the former group (Orthodox Jews).

THE COUNCILS OF THE FOURTH CENTURY AND THE CONFLICT BETWEEN EAST AND WEST IN A CHURCH-HISTORICAL CONTEXT
THE COUNCILS OF THE FOURTH CENTURY AND THE CONFLICT BETWEEN EAST AND WEST IN A CHURCH-HISTORICAL CONTEXT

Shortly after the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea in the East (325) , the reaction of the Arians and semi-Aryans arose. Politically strong Arianism came on the scene, in the role of sworn enemy of everything that defined the Nicene Creed. Councils are convened against councils, symbols of faith are drawn up against other symbols of faith, counter-anathemas are opposed to anathemas. The pagan historian Ammianus Marcelinus writes, “The roads of the empire were overcrowded with galloping bishops.” The anti-Nicene reaction was a significant power, led by Eusebius of Caesarea4 /+ 340/, who is involved in all Arian endeavors and fights for a unifying formula of the Christian faith, for the pacification of the two warring groups; he refuses to condemn Arius. The leader of the pro-Arianists and anti-Sabellians was Eusebius. Nicomedian5, known for his militant temperament and uncompromisingness /+ 341/.

After the exile of Arius at Nicaea, Constantius, the sister of Emperor Constantine, intervened to alleviate the sentence of the heresiarch, whom he allowed to return from exile. And to perform the Sacrament of St. Baptism of the emperor before his death in 337, was sought by Eusebius of Nicomedia. His position was even stronger in the court of Emperor Constantius II /337-361/, when in 338, he was transferred to the ministry in Constantinople. The empire was divided between the sons of Constantine I: Constantine II the Younger /Claudius Flavius ​​Julius, 337-340/, Constant I /Flavius ​​Julius Constans, 337-350/ and Constantius II /Flavius ​​Julius Constantinius, son of Constantine the Great by Faust and grandson of Constantius I Chlorus/. The empire became even more agitated by the relentless religious controversy. Constantius took the side of Arianism against Athanasius, the great bishop of Alexandria, which explains the unfavorable comments of this son of the emperor Constantine the Great. The pro-Arian coalition soon went on the offensive and attacked in order to eliminate everywhere in the Orient those for whom Orthodoxy remained in the symbol of faith defined at the Council of Nicaea.

From Palestine to Thrace, a dozen episcopal centers saw their Orthodox bishops removed from office after a series of ecclesiastical councils between 326 and 335. Synods in the fourth century annulled each other, fiercely defending their positions, with bishops in the East leading their churches with a zeal which they should apply to prevent the division of the Body of Christ-Christ Church.

Pretoria prefecture officials assisted in the convening of church councils. In certain cases, they organized the transportation of bishops by imperial mail /cursus publicus/. Practice introduced by Emperor Constantine I when organizing the council in Arles in 314. St. Melania, for example, covered the distance from Constantinople to Jerusalem in 44 days. The distance was 1164 miles, i.e. approx. 1730 km. The individual stages did not exceed 40 km. daily intensified course of “Roman public transport,” as Hilary of Poitiers testifies, in his work Against Constantius (SC № 334, Paris, 1987, p. 14).

The intervention of state officials in church affairs from the middle of the 4th century became a common practice. They served as couriers between the imperial court and the bishops; assisted in the councils themselves to be the emperor’s spokesmen in them, because the ecumenical councils are an extremely respected body of the Church by the imperial administration, which is the main reason why Constantine the Great finally gained enormous (= synodal) power and authority, importance for the entire life of the empire. On the other hand, the local /provincial/ councils played an important role in the life of the local churches, as well as for the functioning of the Ecumenical Councils. That obligation fell within the remit of the agentes in rebus, in their capacity as curiosi of the cursus publicus.

CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE

323-337 Constantine I, the only emperor.

325 Council of Nicaea, Athanasius /b. 295 – + May 2, 373/ participated in the First Ecumenical Council as a deacon of Alexandria.

328 On June 8, Athanasius was ordained bishop of Alexandria.

330 The Council of Antioch /against Eustatius of Antioch/. The Council of Tire-Jerusalem. First exile of Athanasius, July 11 to November 22, 337; stay in Trev.

337-340 Emperors: Constantine II. Constant I. Constantius II.

339 Second exile of Athanasius, from April 16, 339 to October 21, 346; stay in Rome; bishop of Alexandria at that time the illegitimate bishop /intrus/ Gregory.

340-350 Emperors: Constant I. Constantius II.

341 Council of Sanctification at Antioch.

343-344 The Councils of Serdica and Philippopolis.

346 Cologne Council /May 12/. Return of Athanasius to Alexandria.

350-361 Constantius, autocratic emperor.

350 Catechisms of St. Cyril of Jerusalem.

351 First Council of Sirmium.

353 Council of Arles, dominated by the Arians.

355 Council in Milan / Milan /.

356 Council of Béziers. Third exile of Athanasius, from February 9, 356 to Feb 21, 362; stay in the Egyptian desert.

357 Second Council of Sirmium.

358 Omiusian Council in Ancyra. Third Council of Sirmium. Council of Antioch.

359 Council of Seleucia-Rimini.

360 Council of Constantinople. Caesar Julian was proclaimed emperor of his troops.

369/361 Council of Paris. Gallic bishops cancel their participation in support for the Nicene position.

362 Council of Alexandria. Fourth exile of Athanasius, Oct 24 362 to 5 Sept. 363; stay in the Egyptian desert.

365 Emp. Valens: Fifth Exile of Athanasius, Oct. 5 to Jan 31, 366.

THE DUTIES OF THE CHRISTIAN TO HIMSELF
THE DUTIES OF THE CHRISTIAN TO HIMSELF

The Christian must strive for infinite moral perfection: “Be perfect,” says the Savior, “as your Father is perfect” (Matt. 5:48). That is why he must be vigilant in his thoughts, feelings and actions, because he is surrounded on all sides by enemies of his salvation, which Christ pointed out to us in His parable of the sower and the seed – these are sensual pleasures, riches, life’s care and the devil. The Christian must always be on guard of his salvation, to fight against his passions, evil thoughts, the influence of evil people and cunning demonic forces, because one spark of sin is enough to then ignite the fire of passions and to incinerate in us the seeds of good.

As for the above, the Moscow Metropolitan Innocent advises us: “We must be especially courageous and firm in carrying our sufferings, in carrying our life crosses. These crosses are so painful for some that they feel abandoned by the Lord. But God is always with us, even when it seems to us that we are at the very end of doom, because He will not allow more temptations than we can bear …. In sorrows do not seek consolation in people, if God Himself is not send them: only the Lord is your helper, comforter and mentor; turn to Him, and seek only comfort and help in Him. ”

In the successful struggle of the Christian with the enemies of his salvation powerful means appear: the word of God, the example of the life of the saints, fasting, prayer and especially the grace of God given to us in the sacraments of the Church of Christ.

Only in the love of God and neighbor is the constant struggle with vices and passions the pledge of salvation for man and for eternal life.

Will we, after enduring various sufferings of love of neighbor, find or continue to love or hate him because of the suffering he has caused us and the possible ingratitude, especially if he is our enemy (because the duty of love of neighbor includes the requirement to love our enemies) – this is the greatest test of virtue and the greatest danger to the compassionate, lest he become a philanthropist, misanthrope.

Also, the rage of enmity enters among Christians and prevents them from reconciling and living in peace. “If you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you” (Matt. 6:14). The devil never quarrels with the devil. But under the pressure of the devil’s malice, man against man is at war, and Christian against Christian. The robbers, as soon as they unite, become comrades. Their common interests and goals connect them and, by sharing a table, respect each other as brothers. And we seem to line up at the same spiritual table – we partake of the same cup with the Flesh and Blood of the Lord, we are supposed to be brothers in Christ, but in fact we eat each other like bloodthirsty beasts. This is because we have allied ourselves with the devil. In our sinfulness, it is natural for misunderstandings and quarrels to arise between people. But, once quarreled, we can reconcile. If mutual reconciliation is not achievable, then we must practice patience and forgiveness of the enemy who is uncompromising towards us. “Let not the sun go down upon you; nor give place to the devil ”(Eph. 4: 26-27).