COMECE Bishops seek ways to strengthen intercultural and inter-religious dialogue at the EU level
Strengthening intercultural and inter-religious dialogue will be the main focus of the forthcoming COMECE Bishops’ plenary meeting in response to the unfortunate and unsettling fallout between the EU and the Muslim world following the publication of cartoons caricaturing the prophet Mohammed. The plenary will take place from 22-24 March 2006 in Brussels.
The Bishops will reflect upon and analyse the political and societal consequences following the publication of the caricatures with a view to adopting an action plan in order to reinforce intercultural and inter-religious dialogue at the European level. This action plan will then be presented to the Austrian EU Presidency.
During the course of their reflections on the caricatures’ publication the Bishops will receive presentations by Mr Julian VASSALLO, responsible for external economic relations, military-political affairs, Middle-East unity and the Mediterranean region in the Council of Ministers, and Mr Richard KUEHNEL, member of Benita Ferrero-Waldner’s cabinet, Commissioner responsible for External Relations and the European Neighbourhood Policy. The Bishops will also listen to an intervention from Mr Joachim FRITZ-VANNAHME, a journalist on “Die Zeit”, on the media’s perspective on the publication of the caricatures.
To mark the retirement of COMECE President, Bishop Josef Homeyer as he steps down after nearly 13 years, an evening debate and reception will be held in his honour. At this event Mr Tadeusz MAZOWIECKI, former Polish prime minister and current president of the Polish Robert Schuman Foundation will speak on “Europe and its nations – the significance of the Church for European identity”. This intervention will then be followed by Archbishop Michael FITZGERALD, Apostolic Nuncio in Egypt and former President of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue who will speak on the subject “Europe, politics and inter-religious dialogue”. This reception will be held at the Permanent Representation of the State of Baden-Württemberg to the EU at 19.30 on Wednesday 22 March 2006.
In addition the Bishops will consult on a declaration for publication on 9 May 2006 as part of their contribution to the reflection period on the future of the European Union.
Journalists are particularly invited to attend a
At 14:00 on Friday 24 March 2006
at the Hôtel Eurovillage, 80 Boulevard Charlemagne, 1000 Brussels
The newly elected presidium will present the conclusions of the Plenary Meeting.
COMECE is a Commission of the Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of the member states of the European Union. The Bishops’ Conferences from Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania have observer status.
The following bishops will participate at the Plenary Meeting on behalf of their Bishops’ Conferences: Bishop Josef Homeyer (Germany); Bishop Adrianus van Luyn (The Netherlands); Archbishop Hippolyte Simon (France); Bishop John Crowley (England and Wales); Bishop Jozef De Kesel (Belgium); Archbishop Nikolaos Foskolos (Greece); Archbishop Fernand Franck (Luxembourg); Bishop Adolfo Gonzalez Montes (Spain); Bishop Piotr Jarecki (Poland); Bishop Anton Justs (Latvia); Bishop Egon Kapellari (Austria); Bishop William Kenny (Scandinavia); Bishop Vaclav Maly (Czech Republic); Archbishop Diarmuid Martin (Ireland); Bishop Giuseppe Merisi (Italy); Bishop Peter Moran (Scotland); Bishop Rimantas Norvila (Lithuania); Bishop Frantisek Rábek (Slovakia); Bishop Anton Stres (Slovenia); Bishop Amândio José Tomás (Portugal); and Bishop András Veres (Hungary).
The following bishops have observer status: Cardinal Josip Bosanic (Croatia); and Bishop Christo Proykov (Bulgaria).