Tuesday 22. October 2019
Bishops call for a more united Europe to promote peace

Bishops call for a more united Europe to promote peace

Conclusions of the COMECE Spring Plenary Meeting Press Release - 28 March 2003 The Bishops of COMECE called on the European Union to promote a more just and peaceful global order at their Spring Plenary Meeting in Brussels on 27-28 March 2003.

The Bishops considered the response of the European Union to the current international crisis and discussed its implications for the work of the European Convention. They adopted a statement on the Iraq crisis entitled "Blessed are the peacemakers", expressing their concern for the suffering of the people and urging the leaders and institutions of the European Union to work together for peace and justice in the Middle East and the wider world. The Bishops welcomed the fact that a consensus seems to be emerging within the Convention on, for example, the contribution of Churches and religious communities in European society and respect for their status under national law. The Bishops reaffirmed their commitment to the principle of a secular state. They emphasised that the Churches proposals' to the Convention reflect the role of religion at the service of society as a whole and do not discriminate against any community of faith or conviction. The Bishops discussed these and other issues of concern with the following representatives of the EU institutions and invited guests: - Mr Enrique BARÓN CRESPO MEP, Leader of Party of European Socialists Group in the European Parliament; - Mr Elmar BROK MEP, Chairman of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs and Co-ordinator of the European People's Party Group in the European Convention; - Mr Jean-Luc DEHAENE, Vice-President of the European Convention; - Ms Leslie LEBL, Minister-Counsellor for Political Affairs, United States Mission to the European Union; - Mr John PALMER, Political Director of the European Policy Centre (Brussels); - Rev. Prof. Peter SERRACINO INGLOTT, Delegate of the Government of Malta to the European Convention. The Bishops reviewed the ongoing work of the COMECE Secretariat in a variety of areas. They approved a project to monitor regularly initiatives to promote global governance. The "Global Governance Assessment" is a follow-up to the report on "Global Governance: Our responsibility to make globalisation an opportunity for all" submitted to the Bishops of COMECE in October 2001. They also discussed the conclusions of a joint seminar on EU-Africa relations organised by COMECE and the Symposium of Bishops' Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) in Lisbon on 27-28 February 2003. They expressed their sincere gratitude to the Portuguese Bishops' Conference for its contribution to the organisation of the seminar. They agreed to continue to work with SECAM in order to promote a joint contribution by the Catholic Church in Africa and Europe to the development of the EU-Africa relationship. The Bishops called on the European Union to respect the different ethical approaches to research with human embryos and embryonic stem cells in member states, and therefore not to fund such research under the Sixth Research Framework Programme. The Bishops elected the Presidium of COMECE for the next three years. Bishop Josef Homeyer of Hildeshem, Germany will continue as President, and Bishop Adrianus van Luyn of Rotterdam, Netherlands will continue as Vice-President. Archbishop Hippolyte Simon of Clermont, France was also elected as Vice-President. The Plenary Meeting also marked the launch of the COMECE website. The website provides news about the activities of COMECE, profiles of the Bishops of COMECE, information on the Catholic Church and the European Union, and a database of publications, including the monthly journal Europe Infos. ENDS

COMECE is a commission of the Catholic Bishops' Conferences of the member states of the European Union. The Bishops' Conferences of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Switzerland are associate members. The following bishops participated in the Plenary Meeting on behalf of their Bishops' Conferences: Bishop Josef Homeyer (Germany); Bishop Adrianus van Luyn (Netherlands); Bishop John Crowley (England & Wales); Bishop Teodoro De Faria (Portugal); Bishop Jozef De Kesel (Belgium); Bishop Joseph Duffy (Ireland); Bishop Egon Kapellari (Austria); Bishop William Kenney (Scandinavia); Bishop Giuseppe Merisi (Italy); Bishop John Mone (Scotland); Archbishop Hippolyte Simon (France); Archbishop Elias Yanes Álvarez (Spain); Bishop Amédée Grab (Switzerland) - President of CCEE; Bishop Václav Mal? (Czech Republic); Archbishop Henryk Muszynski (Poland); Bishop Frantisek Rabek (Slovakia); Bishop Antón Stres (Slovenia); Bishop András Veres (Hungary); Rev. Gintaras Grusas (Lithuania); Rev. Vanni Xuereb (Malta). Contact: John Coughlan COMECE Press Officer +32 2 235 0515 or +32 486 583250
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