Solidarity – the challenge for Europe
A Manifesto for the ‘Catholic Social Days for Europe’
“Each generation has to earn and consolidate freedom and peace for its own time. Our generation is no exception” states the preparation committee for the ‘Catholic Social Days for Europe’ in a Manifesto published today. 500 to 600 Catholics from all over Europe will, on 8th - 11th October, gather for this event in Gdansk, the city of Solidarnosc, on the initiative of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community (COMECE). The authors of the Manifesto declare that “today, eighty years after the Wall Street Crash of 1929, the world once again finds itself in the midst of a severe economic and financial crisis, which carries with it the potential for dangerous social and political consequences, including the temptation to revert to nationalism and protectionism.”
In their Manifesto, the 26 members of the preparation committee for the ‘Catholic Social Days for Europe’, who come from 19 European countries, emphasise that “the way out of this crisis and the key to peace lie in the combination of personal and political values encapsulated in the term ‘solidarity’. Solidarity, grounded in the respect for human dignity and freedom, lies at the heart of the social teaching of the Church. Our meeting in Gdansk will offer an opportunity to explore the challenge of solidarity for Europe.”
The text defines Solidarity as indivisible, without any exclusion or exception. “It includes all human beings, from those who are not yet born to those who are at the end of their life. It includes our contemporaries and the generations to come. It includes residents and migrants. It includes all countries, be they big or small”. This Solidarity should transcend EU boundaries because “ human beings are increasingly dependent upon one another and their destinies so interwoven”; and Solidarity should also transcend the present time, given the fact that “our way of life is threatening as never before the natural foundations of existence for future generations. “
The authors of the Manifesto see the gathering in Gdansk, therefore, as an opportunity “ to look for concrete ways to affirm Europe’s solidarity in the midst of the global crisis “ and, moreover, as an occasion “to encourage the European Union’s contribution to a civilisation of love, which excludes no person or corner of the globe and embraces future generations. “
The first ‘Catholic Social Days for Europe’ will have an ecumenical dimension through its invited participants and speakers. Prominent figures from public life in Europe, including the European institutions, and distinguished members of the Catholic hierarchy have been contacted to take part in the event.
Half of the participants will come from the younger generation. Representatives of the religious life in Europe will be present. European networks, like Caritas Europe, Justice & Peace Europe and the Initiative for Christians in Europe (IXE) were closely involved in the preparation of the event. In Poland, the Centre for European Solidarity in Gdansk and the Centre for the Thought of John Paul II in Warsaw have worked in close cooperation. Another partner is Renovabis, the solidarity initiative of German Catholics.
A detailed programme for the event will be presented at the press conference to be held on 20th April at the COMECE offices in Brussels and shortly afterwards in Gdansk.