Europe: a roadmap to Peace
On the occasion of the Lithuanian EU Presidency, a delegation of Lithuanian Catholic Bishops visited the EU institutions at the invitation of COMECE.
Led by Mgr Rimantas Norvila, the Lithuanian delegate to COMECE, the six bishops came from 1st- 4 December on a fact-finding mission, anxious to become familiar with the EU and its institutions. They were briefed by several Catholic NGOs. They had meetings with a number of MEPs, especially those from Lithuania, and were received by the Vice-President of the EU Parliament, Mr Laszlo Surjan. They had an exchange of views within the EU Commission, with the Bureau of Policy Advisers. Finally, they met a representative from the EU External Action Service and with the Permanent representative of Lithuania.
Following their exchanges with the stakeholders of the main European institutions, they made the following statement:
“In view of the upcoming EU elections in May 2014, we wish to express our gratitude to all that has been achieved in the last 60 years by the European integration project.
We are in favour of a European project, which is founded on principles of the dignity of the human person, the joint promotion of the common good, global solidarity, development of peoples and the promotion of peace, as reflected in Pacem in Terris, the encyclical Letter of Pope John XXIII which was published 50 years ago. A return to these principles would provide a proper foundation to a stronger Europe.
We would recall global solidarity, combined with a respect for the subsidiarity principle, as being crucial cornerstones of a community of nations which live in peace and promote the prosperity of its peoples. A Christian understanding of the family is, in our view, essential to this vision. For this reason, we have launched a Year of the Family in Lithuania.
We welcome the outcome of the recent Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius where considerable progress were made. However, we are concerned about the situation in Ukraine. Our prayers are with those who have gathered in the streets of Kiev and with the political leaders of both sides in Ukraine, that a peaceful and democratic solution will be found. “
The delegation was composed of :
Archbishop Gintaras GRUŠAS
Bishop Rimantas NORVILA
Bishop Lionginas VIRBALAS
Bishop Linas VODOPJANOVAS
Bishop Kęstutis KĖVALAS
Bishop Arūnas PONIŠKAITIS
For journalists only : A press Conference with the Lithuanian Bishops will be organised tomorrow, Wednesday 4 december, at 9 am