On 23-25 October 2019 delegates of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union gathered in Brussels for the COMECE Autumn 2019 Assembly. The meeting was dedicated to post-EU elections challenges and, in particular, to ecological policies centered on persons, families and communities.
In the context of the renewed European institutions, Bishops discussed priorities of the incoming European Commission in dialogue with an EU representative. In this regard, they devoted special attention to the proposed“European Green Deal” in order to encourage ecological policies that foster integral human development.
On the impulse of Pope Francis’ Encyclical Letter “Laudato Si’”, Bishops focused on how EU ecological policies can be centered on persons, families and communities, addressing the most crucial challenges regarding the environment, the most vulnerable, demography and development with four Catholic actors: the Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM), Caritas Europa, the Federation of Catholic Families (FAFCE) and the International Cooperation for Development and Solidarity (CIDSE).
In line with the Sustainable Development Goals and in light of the ongoing Synod on the Amazon region, COMECE Bishops called the EU to take ambitious steps to ensure policy coherence between its trade, development, climate and human rights policies.
They highlighted the importance of adopting binding and effective human rights legislation for EU-based transnational companies to ensure compliance of their actions throughout the entire supply chain with legal, social and environmental standards.
COMECE Bishops reiterated the need to put in place a fair and inclusive systemic transition towards an integral ecology paying special attention to the most vulnerable, while taking into account the limited resources of our planet and the necessity for a circular use of materials.
During this three-day Assembly, Delegates of EU Episcopates also expressed their concern over the current situation in Syria and encouraged the EU to intensify its humanitarian and diplomatic efforts in view of lasting and sustainable peace in the region.
The President of COMECE, Archbishop of Luxembourg H. Em. Card. Jean-Claude Hollerich S.J., who was recently created Cardinal by Pope Francis, came directly from Rome to preside the Assembly of COMECE, and will soon return to contribute to the final works of the Synod on the Amazon region.
On Wednesday 23 October 2019, Bishops celebrated a Mass for Europe at the Church of Notre-Dame du Sablon, Brussels, on the occasion of the Finnish Presidency of the Council of the European Union. In his homily, H.E. Mgr. Czesław Kozon, COMECE delegate from the Scandinavian Bishops’ Conference, highlighted the importance of “reconciliation as a permanent process that should never be placed out of reach”, especially in the current global environment characterised by lacking trust in multilateral cooperation and erosion of the international legal framework.
EU Bishops also expressed their gratitude to H. E. Mgr. Paolo Rudelli – who participated in his last Assembly of COMECE as Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the Council of Europe due to his recent appointment as Apostolic Nuncio – for his precious cooperation and contribution in these last years.