Presidents of CEC-COMECE meet, discuss future of Europe and dialogue with President Juncker
Cardinal Marx, president of COMECE, and Rt Rev. Christopher Hill KCVO, DD, president of the Conference of European Churches met on 31 March to strengthen the ecumenical commitment of the Church to the European project, in whatever new ways are appropriate in light of current challenges. They were also received on this day by Mr Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, as part of the open, transparent, and regular dialogue between the European Union and Churches enshrined in Article 17 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. They issued the following statement:
“The 60th anniversary of the Rome Treaties provides new opportunity to reflect on our history in Europe and directions for its future. In the decades since the founding of the European Union and its predecessor institutions, Europeans have benefitted from historic periods of peace, the expansion of democracy on the continent, and increased freedom to work, travel, and study.
Today, unprecedented challenges demand increased work for peace, justice, and solidarity. We believe more than ever in the European project and believe that a common path resting on shared values is the best path. A united Europe brings about peace in a world where peace cannot be taken for granted. Together, Europe can face the social and economic challenges of globalization, including the social inequalities that remain within its borders.
In his speech to the European Parliament in November 2014, Pope Francis described Europe as “a precious point of reference for all humanity” and called upon Europe to acknowledge and live out her mission. That is to say: we ought to seek what unites us and serve the cause of peace.
In light of the multiple, interrelated crises facing Europe as a whole, the Conference of European Churches inaugurated a broad process of consultation with its membership on the future of Europe. In the open letter, What Future for Europe?, CEC outlined its vision for a Europe and calls for a return to the values of cooperation, social inclusion, and solidarity that inspired its founders in generations past.
To mark the 60th anniversary of the Rome Treaties, COMECE and the Holy See will organise on 27 to 29 October a Congress at the Vatican under the theme “Re-thinking Europe”. Through this COMECE offers an opportunity for dialogue and joint reflection among bishops, high-level political representatives, and other Church actors together with Pope Francis, as a clear sign of the strong commitment of the Catholic Church to finding new ways to live together on the continent.
We are encouraged by the foundation established in the Charta Oecumenica and its call to churches in Europe to dialogue, unity, and action. We take up this call again in our work for the protection of the vulnerable, the safeguarding of creation, and promotion of dialogue with other faiths and worldviews. In this spirit, we hope for a future of Europe that meets and then goes beyond the vision set out some 60 years ago. “
Rt Rev. Christopher Hill, President of CEC & Cardinal Marx, President of COMECE
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