The annual meeting of the Executive Committee of the Catholic Biblical Federation took place 10-12 November 2017 in Warsaw.
The Executive Committee, meeting in plenary, based on the report of the General Secretary and the Treasurer of the Federation, dealt with the topics of ordinary administration and matters related to the 50th Anniversary of the founding of the Catholic Biblical Federation.
Most of the time was spent addressing matters relating to the administration and finances of the Federation. Given the decrease in the contributions of the German donor agencies, following the change in their funding policies, the General Secretariat of the Federation is going through a period of scarcity of resources for its proper functioning. For this reason, and responding to the need to change the financial structure of the Federation, the Executive Committee in this session made some administrative-structural decisions, designed to improve and strengthen the financial structure of the Federation. It was decided to proportionally increase the contributions of the full and associated members of Europe and North America in all categories of members. The decision taken in 2006 to leave the membership fees collected in the other regions in each region, to create an "economic fund of the region" was maintained, but for the regions that since 2006, do not make contributions to the General Secretariat, it was decided to introduce a "solidarity fee" in addition to the annual fee paid to the Region.
The Executive Committee also approved the project of the General Secretary of the CBF to create a network of associations of "Friends of the Catholic Biblical Federation" with the purpose of promoting the Federation and raising funds for the projects undertaken by it. The creation of the first "Friends of the Catholic Biblical Federation" association in the United States of America was approved. Other associations will be approved as they are established.
In the same section on administrative matters, the Executive Committee studied and approved the new "Code of Ethics" to be signed by new Regional and Subregional Coordinators of the Federation. The revision of this document was necessary because of the changes introduced in the text of the Constitution of the Catholic Biblical Federation before its approval by the Plenary Assembly in Nemi in 2015.
Closing the section on administrative matters, the Executive Committee of the Federation studied the proposal of the President and the General Secretary of the Federation to relocate the headquarters of the General Secretariat from Germany back to the Vatican City. This change is necessary and desirable to:
- reinforce the presence of the Catholic Biblical Federation within the structures of the Church to better fulfil our mission
- facilitate contact of the General Secretariat with the Bishops of the Catholic Church
- establish contact with students of the biblical and theological faculties of the Pontifical Universities of Rome
- simplify the administrative-legal structure of the Federation
After studying all the positive and negative aspects that this relocation would imply, the Executive Committee of the Catholic Biblical Federation decided to undertake the administrative-legal steps for the transfer of the headquarters of the General Secretariat of the Federation from Germany back to the Vatican City. This decision, like all the previous ones, was taken unanimously.
Matters relating to the members of the Federation formed an important part of the meeting. In the first place, after carefully studying the presented documentation and the opinions of the experts in Canon Law, it was decided to grant full membership in the Catholic Biblical Federation to the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India. Next, the applications of the new members were reviewed, voted on and subsequently approved:
1. Diocese of Guntur (India)
2. Diócesis de Catamarca (Argentina)
3. Ilizwi Biblical Centre - SVD Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe)
4. Pedro Arrupe Formation Centre for Educational Leaders (Poland)
5. Society of Jesus, Mary and Joseph (India)
6. Asociación Bíblica Argentina (Argentina)
7. Arquidiócesis de La Habana (Cuba)
8. Charismatic Movement in Madagascar (Madagascar)
With these new additions, the Catholic Biblical Federation now has 346 members - 103 Full Members and 243 Associate Members - in 126 countries around the world.
The final part of the meeting focused on a review of the preparations for two events related to the 50th Anniversary of the foundation of the Catholic Biblical Federation: The Congress in Rome and the request addressed to Pope Francis to proclaim the Year of the Bible. While the preparations for the Congress are progressing smoothly, the issue of the Year of the Bible is following a tortuous path through the various dicasteries of the Roman Curia. At the end of this review, the decision was taken to conduct in the Year of the Bible within the framework of the Catholic Biblical Federation if it is not officially proclaimed by the Holy See.
The annual meeting of the Executive Committee of the Catholic Biblical Federation ended with the solemn celebration of the Eucharist in the National Shrine of Divine Providence in Warsaw, followed by a dinner hosted by Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz, Archbishop of Warsaw.