Gathered in Brussels on 12-14 October 2022, the Plenary Assembly of the Bishop Delegates of the EU Episcopates makes a strong appeal to Russia to immediately suspend the hostilities against Ukraine and to all parties to work towards a solution to the conflict. They also encourage strong EU cohesion. Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Galea-Curmi attended as the delegate for the Maltese Episcopal Conference.
In the context of the 2022 Autumn Plenary Assembly of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE), the EU Bishops elaborated a statement expressing their “deep sadness at the horrific human suffering inflicted on the people of Ukraine by the brutal military aggression initiated by the Russian authorities”.
They also convey the closeness of their Episcopates to “the millions of refugees and to all those who suffer because of this madness of war”, as well as their deep concern that recent actions may “risk a further expansion of the war with disastrous consequences for humanity”.
Bishops call for European unity
Following an in-depth discussion on the war in Ukraine and its increasingly dramatic socio-economic implications affecting citizens in Europe and beyond, the EU Bishops stress “the deep value of the European Union and its founding vision”. They strongly encourage political leaders “to maintain their unity and to remain committed to the European project”.
The appeal for peace
The EU Bishops concluded their statement with “a strong appeal to the aggressors, immediately to suspend the hostilities, and to all parties to open themselves up to negotiation of ‘serious proposals’ for a just peace, to work towards a solution to the conflict, which respects international law and the territorial integrity of Ukraine.”
During the Assembly, the Bishops had the opportunity to exchange with three guests: Klaus Welle, Secretary-General of the European Parliament, Philip McDonagh, Director of the Centre for Religion, Human Values and International Relations at the Dublin City University, and Pascal Lamy, former Director General of the World Trade Organisation and Coordinator of the Jacques Delors think tanks networks.
The Assembly also featured the participation of Pastor Christian Krieger, President of the Conference of European Churches.
Mass for Europe
On the first day of the Assembly, the Bishops and the faithful gathered at the Church of Notre-Dame des Victoires au Sablon to pray for Europe. The Mass for Europe was presided by H.Em. Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich SJ, President of COMECE, and concelebrated by the Bishops’ Delegates of the 27 EU Member States.
In the context of the Czech Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the homily was offered by H.E. Mgr. Jan Vokál, Bishop Delegate of the Czech Bishops’ Conference and Vice-President of COMECE. Read the homily
The next Assembly
The Assembly of COMECE is composed of the Bishop Delegates by the EU Episcopates. The next Plenary Assembly will take place in Rome and will feature the election of a new COMECE Presidency.