The COMECE General Secretary's speech delivered during the
International Conference in Krakow:
Role of the Catholic Church in the Process of European Integration
11-12 October 2019
Eminence, Excellencies, brothers in priesthood, authorities, friends,
It is a pleasure and an honour to participate in this 19th Conference on the Role of the Catholic Church in the Process of European Integration, this year centered on the issue of The Challenges for a New Europe, in this beautiful city of Krakow so connected to the blessed memory of Saint John Paul II. I thank the Pontifical University of John Paul II in Krakow, the Robert Schuman Foundation and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation for organizing it and inviting me as new general secretary of COMECE. We are very pleased to collaborate in this initiative that helps us reflect on the role of Christians in public life and, more specifically, our contribution to the European process.
I want to also convey the greetings of Archbishop Jean-Claude Hollerich, president of COMECE, that was created cardinal the past 5th of October, also as a sign of recognition of the importance given by the Church to Europe and its institutions. He is now participating in the Synod for Amazonia that is being celebrated this month in the Vatican.
While thanking the organizers of the present event, I also want to spend a word of remembrance and gratefulness to Bishop Tadeusz Pieronek, long-standing chairman of the organizing committee who passed away in December 2018. My best wishes also to Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz for taking now the lead and for his commitment to promoting the role of the Catholic Church in the process of European integration.
The Commission of the Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union, COMECE, of which I am general secretary since the beginning of September, will celebrate next year its 40th anniversary. During these years I think it has been a useful presence of the Catholic Church in Brussels, keeping in touch with the European institutions, following closely the European integration process and striving to defend and promote those values which form part of the European identity and that have their roots in the Christian tradition, like freedom, peace, the dignity of the human person, the importance of family, democracy, solidarity, respect for diversity, etc.
In the COMECE Statement in view of the European Elections in May this year it was said that the EU is currently experiencing an institutional turnover which might be an opportunity for renewing the European project and rebuilding community in Europe. The result of these elections offer a ground for hope, but are also a call to a new and greater responsibility for all the actors involved in the European process. In this conference we will address key issues and challenges for Europe, such as religious freedom, Brexit, Populism, Economic Model, Central Eastern Europe. COMECE, giving voice to the Bishops’ Conference of the European Union has expressed in different occasions and manners its views on these issues keeping always in mind the dignity of the human person and the common good. Recently the president of COMECE has expressed his worries about populism, Brexit, young people and unemployment, the need to take care of our environment, an issue that is closely related to social justice and the defense of the poor.
In this sense, let me express my hope that this Conference will provide a constructive and fruitful contribution to this process of rediscovering our common identity and renewing the European project in face of the big challenges that we are confronted with.
Thank you very much for your attention.
For more info and photos about the conference, click here.