» The Catholic and Russian Orthodox Churches want to continue and even intensify the path of dialogue and cooperation. «
In Eastern Europe, the vacuum left behind by communism and atheism has been filled with hopelessness and crime in some countries. Reaching people and providing pastoral care in such a situation represents the greatest challenge for local churches. Evangelisation is needed. For this reason, we sponsored many retreat projects in 2017, as well as the training of future priests and sisters. In Western Europe, by contrast, we mainly supported pastoral care for refugees and new evangelization initiatives.
In Eastern Europe, the Church is working tirelessly to stand on its own feet financially. Nevertheless, it would hardly have been able to survive in 2017 without outside assistance. One of many reasons for this is that as funds were often scarce after the collapse of the Eastern Bloc states, building projects were carried out quickly, cheaply and unprofessionally. Renovating these buildings is a major task for the local churches, and we assisted these efforts during the reporting year.
» Efforts to reach understanding help to create a society based on love, hope and comprehension. «
Just as important as the ecclesiastical infrastructure is promoting understanding between the denominations, especially the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. We continue to support interdenominational media projects as well as media training for church representatives to give the Catholic Church a voice and contribute to the renewal of faith.
Although the influx of refugees in Western Europe has declined sharply due to restrictive measures, the number of project applications in 2017 remained at the level of previous years. On the one hand, hands-on support for refugees remains a focus as part of the missionary task of the Church. On the other hand, the topic of “new evangelization” has been decisive for the approval of projects.
Refugee problems continued to dominate our concerns in 2017. Fleeing Christians are still in the minority. They must be protected against discrimination and affliction through humanitarian assistance. In their home countries, war and terror make it difficult for the faithful to persevere. Here local churches provide admirable assistance with our support.