Bishops’ plenary: Spreading the Good News, protecting man

26. 10. 2017
On Oct. 23–25, 2017, the 111th plenary meeting of the Czech Bishops’ Conference took place in the Archbishop’s Palace in Prague. The participants discussed several issues of the life of the Church, met with directors of the diocesan Charities and attended a study day focused on Church schools, catechesis, and religious education.

Photo František Jemelka

Bishops and representatives of religious orders underlined the need for coordinated action as regards the church tourism. They supported the unified attitude of dioceses and orders, coordinated by the Diocese of Brno, and at the same time, they were informed about this area of tourism and its future visions, successful projects and gradual involvement of religious orders. “The church tourism offers a huge opportunity to introduce Christianity to all who would hardly get to know it anywhere else,” said Zlata Keprtová of the Diocese of Brno who is in charge of the project.

An important part of the three-day-long program was a meeting with the directors of the diocesan Charities. Representatives of this largest provider of social service in the Czech Republic introduced the latest news of their activities, spoke about development in the area of methodology and management and about trends in the help to those in need (food banks, legal activities, indebtedness). Other topics included the Charity help to people dying at home; bishops stressed the necessity of dialog among representatives of various styles of palliative care that would be based upon the current debate in the specialized field as well as in media.

The participants of the plenary were also informed about the preparation of a complete translation of the Bible for the liturgical purpose and discussed the application of the General Data Protection Regulation in the life of the Church.

On Wednesday, bishops attended a study day focused on Church schools, religious education at schools, and catechesis in parish houses. Representatives of schools’ headmasters, schools’ founders, and diocesan catechetical centers introduced the aims and specific issues of their activities, stressing the necessity of a good first contact with people who come across the faith-related matters and the Church for the first time.

In the part of the program dedicated to catechesis, similarity and dissimilarity of religious education at schools and in parish houses were discussed. According to Cardinal Dominik Duka, O.P., president of the Czech Bishops’ Conference, the development of catechesis is a priority task of the Czech Church for the future. Representatives of teachers of religious education were informed about the website Katecheze.cz; starting in December, it would gather materials from dioceses and share them with those interested from the entire Czech Republic.

The study day culminated with the afternoon discussion about the minimal standards applied in the area of schools, catechesis, and religious education.

The 112th plenary of Czech bishops would take place in Prague in January 2018.

Author: Jiří Gračka