Tuesday, December 31, 2019

New Year’s Message



The politics of 2019 was focused a lot on environmental issues and climate change. However, I saw as well that this issue is becoming radicalized, with political far left and right opposing each other and using it in their political agendas. As Christians we are guided by the Word of God. In this year's message I like to explore a bit more on the theme of environment and climate change and what we can learn from the Holy Scriptures.



God the Creator
When I explore the Bible, the first thing I notice is how blessed we are by the fact that God created the heaven and the earth, with forests, mountains, and oceans, and their rich life. God the Creator deserves all the glory and praise, as prophet Nehemiah mentions.

“Blessed be your glorious name, and may it be exalted above all blessing and praise. You alone are the LORD. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you” (Nehemiah 9:6)

Human being a collaborator with God
At last God, created the human being and established him in the Garden of Eden as a steward (Genesis 2:15). He did not want the man to be alone. For this reason he created a helper. It is therefore good to jointly take care of the creation. The man also received a special mandate, to give names to all living creatures. (Genesis 1:19-20)

We observe that there is a special relationship between God, humankind and the Creation. God is the ruler over the heaven and earth, and we are assigned to be good stewards/administrators of His creation; all in collaboration with God Who gives life and brings it to fruition. Thus, whatever is one’s view on the Climate Change, we are taught to be responsible for God’s Creation.

Responsibility for the earth
However, the fall of Man brought sin, evil, and selfishness into the world. Humankind has tried to usurp the position of the creator. Consequently, this affected the way we treat the environment. We deploit our natural resources, use plastic excessively, and pollute our environment and oceans. As a result, the Creation is getting destroyed for our own gain.

How do we want to reflect on this in politics and our personal lives?
Since wise stewardship is a biblical assignment, I believe that in all our economic policies we should consider the impact we make on God’s creation. Although member states of EU have responsibilities of their own, I believe that the EU can be a driving force to jointly achieve a sustainable Europe. For instance, EU can allocate funds in environmental research and innovation and create incentives for sustainable businesses. We should be careful that the EU does not use the Climate Crisis as a tool to try to just take more power on areas that could harm the subsidiarity of their Member States. However this does not take our responsibility for the Creation away and a good balanced should be found.

The need for our responsibility for our Creation is also well-summarized by the ECPYouth, the youth organization of the ECPM. In their Odessa Declaration, they declared: “Our Social responsibility to improve living conditions and society implies also to be respectful of the earth and nature which is God’s creation as well. Research and innovation should be encouraged in order to protect the environment and maintain a balance between technological advances and the preservation of nature.”

Concerning our lives, we are entrusted different responsibilities. At the end of this year, I think it is good to reflect a bit to what extend the hectics of our lives and the successes and economic progress we are pursuing are affecting our lives, Also, how they are affecting our relations and the world in which we are living.

As we move into 2020, let us remember that each of us is a creation of God. Let us be good stewards, managing well of whatever is entrusted to us our families, jobs, studies, our countries but also the environment we are living in. All in service and honor of our Creator.

I wish you all a blessed 2020

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

ECPM European Campaign Launch 20 February, Mariott Grand Place 12h30

WHY VOTING CHRISTIAN MATTERS?”


Date: 20th February 2019
Time: 12.30 – 17.30
Venue: Hotel Mariott Grand Place, Rue Auguste Orts 3-7/Grand Place, Brussels, 1000 Belgium
The European Christian Political Movement (ECPM) is the only European political party with an explicit Christian profile. To contribute to the wellbeing of the people in Europe, the ECPM united parties and politicians around Christian values to generate political solutions to EU’s key problems. Unlike other European parties, the ECPM focuses on the human being in its relationship to God, other people and the creation. We see this relational thinking as the heart of Christian-democracy.
The manifesto will include priorities for the future MEPs who will represent ECPM in the next European Parliament:
• Promoting the Christian roots of Europe;
• Reforming the EU, Focus on Community instead of Union;
• Priority for Family based on a marriage between one man and one woman
• Protecting Human Dignity and promoting pro-life policies.
• Fighting Modern Slavery and Human trafficking
• Outward looking foreign policy. Solving problems where they start
• Freedom and Security. Defending external borders of the EU
The manifesto will be introduced by the President of the ECPM and current MEP Branislav Škripek (Slovakia), other MEPs and candidate Marek Jurek (Poland), Peter van Dalen and Bert Jan Ruissen (Netherlands), Arne Gericke (Germany), Jean-Frédéric Poisson (France), Ladislav Ilcic (Croatia) and other prominent members from Spain, Portugal and Malta.
Lunch buffet will be served starting from 12:30. A coffee break will take place at 15:00.
For more information, please contact Lefteris Kaloterakis:
Email: lk@ecpm.info
Tel: +32(0)22301300
================================================================
AGENDA

12h30-13h30 Lunch buffet

13h30 - 15h00
  • Opening by President of the ECPM
  • Campaign presentation + introduction of the Slogan.
  • Presentation Manifesto with panel of current MEP's
  • Introduction of candidates and signing of the Manifesto
  • Press conference.
15h00 - 15h30
Coffee Break, time for photo and video moments.

15h30 - 17h30
  • Presentation of the new Sallux publication, Strong Nations, Confederate Europe
  • How we involve Christian in voting.
  • ECPYouth's participation in the campaign.
  • Music and closing prayer.
  • Cocktail

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Council of Europe: Palliative Care is a Human Right!

At the end of 2018, ECPM Member and Senator Rónán Mullen's report in the Council of Europe on Providing Palliative Care has been adopted the end of last year. This report affirms that Palliative Care is fundamental to human dignity and a component of the human right to health. Palliative care aims at the quality of life of both patients and their families. The Council of Europe asks the Member States to recognize palliative care as a human right and fully integrate it into their health-care system and to dedicate the necessary resources to it. 

The Assembly deeply regrets that on the organisation of palliative care, hundreds of thousands of people in Europe still do not have access to appropriate palliative care services and is concerned about the lack of access to appropriate pain relief leading to situations in which patients suffer for months and even years and experience avoidable painful deaths. 
Furthermore, the Governments should remove all obstacles that restrict access to pain-relieving medication in the context of palliative care, and ensure adequate training on palliative care for health-care professionals. They should also provide comprehensive support for informal caregivers, including respite services. 
Further is palliative care about dying with dignity and NOT about the dignity to die. They follow the definition of the WHO that the starting point of palliative care which "affirms life, regards dying as a normal process and intends neither to hasten nor to postpone death"
Or as Pope Francis said on the meeting of the "World Medical Association" on "end of life issues" 16 November 2017: "And even if we know that we cannot always guarantee healing or a cure, we can and must always care for the living, without ourselves shortening their life, but also without futilely resisting their death. This approach is reflected in palliative care.... as it opposes what makes death most terrifying and unwelcome - pain and loneliness

Click here for the report and resolution
Click here for an article of the European Association of Palliative Care on this report
Click here for a link with pictures of the meeting in the Council of Europe organized by Senator Mullen in collaboration with Sallux with representatives of the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development of the Council of Europe, the European Association of Palliative Care and ADF International. This meeting was organized as preparation for the report

Photos: As a preparation for the report, Rónán Mullen organized in collaboration with Sallux, the think tank of the ECPM, a meeting with representatives of the secretariate of the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development of the Council of Europe, European Association of Palliative Care and ADF International