Congress of COMECE in Rome, 23rd-25th march 2007:
Values and Perspectives for Europe’s future
COMECE – the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community – will organise a Congress in Rome to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the signature of the Treaties of Rome, which founded the European Communities. Some 400 participants from all over Europe will attend. During the meeting, Christians will identify their own key values and confirm those values which have defined the European unification process from its beginning. Today these values have to be renewed, so that the European Union can respond to the expectations addressed to it by its citizens and the wider world. During the Congress the participants will adopt a short text, to be entitled “Message of Rome“, which will then be communicated to the Heads of States and Governments meeting on the 25th March.
Delegations of the 23 bishops’ conferences of the European Union will participate. They will be joined by Catholic movements and communities, as for example the Union of European Conferences of Major Superiors (UCESM), the Dominicans’ association Espaces (spirituality, culture and society in Europe), the Jesuit European Office (OCIPE) and the network IXE, which assembles representatives of the Semaines Sociales from France, of the German ZDK, the Spanish Propagandistas and the Italian network Retinopera.
A large number of senior European politicians will also participate in the Congress: the Prime Minister of Italy, Romano Prodi; the President of Ireland, Mary McAleese; the German Minister of Home Affairs, Dr. Wolfgang Schäuble representing the German Council Presidency; the President of the European Parliament, Prof. Dr. Hans-Gert Pöttering; as well as the former members of the European Commission Peter Sutherland, Marcelino Oreja and Mario Monti.
The Holy See will be represented by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, Secretary of the Holy See for the Relations with States. Metropolitan Emmanuel, member of the Holy Synod of Ecumenical Patriarchs and Metropolitan of France, and Pastor Jean-Arnold de Clermont, President of the Conference of European Churches, will represent other Christian denominations.
The Congress will be opened by the presentation of the report “A Europe of values” produced by the Comité des Sages, which was convoked by the COMECE in September 2006. Based on the conclusions of this report and enriched by the exchange within the different working groups, the text of the “Message of Rome“ will be published on Saturday afternoon. It be presented to Romano Prodi, so that he may communicate it to the European Council in Berlin the next day. The Congress will conclude on Sunday with the Angelus together with Pope Benedict XVI on St. Peter’s Square.