Example event 1 – PR

The Family: true resource of Europe versione testuale

Rome, October 2-4, 2014
The family is not a problem, but a solution for Europe. It is a source of invaluable resources for our European societies : it is its human capital. In front of the many challenges that the current individualistic culture poses especially to the family and marriage, only a pastoral care focused on every single person in the household (husband, wife, child, grandparent) with their peculiarities and the unity they build in the light of the truth that the mystery of the person of Christ reveals about humans, can give new life to this reality of love which is at the base of all human relationships.

The annual Plenary Assembly of the Presidents of the Catholic Bishops’ Conferences in Europe took place in Rome at the invitation of Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, President of the Italian Catholic Bishops’ Conference and Vice-President of CCEE. Also the Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops (Holy See), Cardinal Marc Ouellet, and the Apostolic Nuncio in Italy, Archbishop Adriano Bernardini, attended the Assembly.

The intense and fruitful works were held in the light of faith, in a climate of consolidated fraternity, and with pastoral passion. At the conclusion of their meeting, the participants in the Plenary Assembly of CCEE have adopted the following message.

During the Plenary Assembly of the Council of Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of Europe, we have listened with great interest to the reports of the pastors in Ukraine and other European countries which are going through very serious trouble with a high number of casualties and refugees.
The outlook of information has then expanded to the Middle East, beginning with the Holy Land. Everywhere, situations are marked by the common denominator of complexity, violence, suffering of the most vulnerable, and uncertainty about the future. As Presidents of the Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of European countries, we assure our most vivid closeness in prayer to Christ, Prince of Peace, and our concrete solidarity to the suffering populations. At the same time we encourage the Christian communities of these countries to intensify their work of reconciliation and peace by bringing their contribution to fair and timely solutions. Not to mention the suffering caused by intolerance towards Christians and other minorities, which we strongly condemn. With a heart of pastors, we share the great suffering of so many brothers and sisters in the faith and in humanity, and we urge the international authorities for effective, clear, and immediate resolutions to put an end to the tragedies that are taking place now, and to ensure the return of refugees, in the shortest possible time, to their lands of origin in conditions of safety and freedom.

Meeting with Pope Francis
A deep emotion was stirred by the meeting with Pope Francis, on Friday, October 3, during which the Holy Father has shown how much he is familiar with the European situation, while recalling the many challenges and difficulties that Europe is facing today. Taking inspiration from the address by Cardinal Péter Erdő, Pope Francis made a reflection on the social problems which affect Europe, originated by a culture which looks more at appearances than people, and he encouraged the European bishops not to be ashamed and to proclaim Jesus in clear terms : Jesus Christ is the solution to our problems.

Statutory compliance
H. Ex. Msgr. Angelo Massafra OFM, Archbishop of Scutari-Pult and President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Albania, was elected Vice-President of CCEE for a two-year term (2014-2016). The Albanian bishop replaces H. Ex. Msgr. Józef Michalik, Archbishop of Przemysl, who renounced last March to his mandate of Vice-President of CCEE, because he had finished also his term as President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Poland.
The Presidents of the Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of Europe expressed their gratitude to the new Vice-President for his willingness to serve the Church in Europe and to H. Ex. Msgr. Józef Michalik for his service in recent years.

During the meeting the bishops heard the reports of the CCEE commissions, their work and prospects for the future. The Assembly appreciated their efforts and projects and confirmed its gratitude and esteem toward them.

The Family and the Future of Europe
This topic was dealt with by reports from experts such as : Prof. Joseph Weiler, President of the European University Institute (Fiesole, Florence), the spouses Ludmila and Stanislaw Grygiel, members of the Pontifical Institute John Paul II (Rome), and H. Ex. Msgr. Stanislav Zvolenský, Archbishop of Bratislava. The meeting was meant to be first and foremost a moment of reflection, on the eve of the Synod on the Family, on the issues and phenomena that affect more closely the family and the pastoral care of the family in Europe today and which require resolute actions. In particular:
a) The importance of laws and policies to support the family has been recalled, although they are not the only decisive factors to cross the crisis of the family and the declining birth rates in Europe. The Church in Europe urges governments to be more aware that there is no other reality that can ‘produce’ human capital such as the family, and she calls for vigilance in the face of the damages that certain ideologies, which do not respect the truth of the family, can cause.
b) The real resource of the Church is the witness of Christian families who live their fidelity even in the midst of an often individualistic culture. These are the families that show the attractiveness of the matrimonial project and openness to life – when the latter is a response to God’s plan. Taking care of our Christian families will also bear fruits to the entire society.
c) Following the example of Karol Wojtyla, who since the early years of his priesthood had chosen the family – the domestic Church – as a priority of his ministry, the Church today should turn to the school of the “Pope of the Family”, St. John Paul II, to implement an ‘adequate pastoral care.’ It is a pastoral care that is based on the real experience of human beings, looking for traces of the presence of God in it. In fact, it is in the light of the Person of Christ and his teaching that humans begin can understand themselves. The ‘adequate pastoral care’ is, therefore, not the execution of a draft prepared on paper, but it can be implemented in the accompaniment – carried out by the priest and the Christian community – of couples and families who are the key players to understand the plan of God.
d) In the plan of God, the family is not a private issue, but a good for the whole society, and therefore it is also an institution that, like many others at this time, does not seem to correspond to the immediate desires of many people, especially young people. This is a very European paradox. If it is true that many young people want to start a family, nonetheless many prefer cohabitation or other forms that delay the investment in a stable and lasting bond. Our culture, in fact, considers the ‘bond’ as a form of limitation, or even deprivation of one’s liberty. The Church offers a greater good, this is why it unceasingly reminds that a faithful commitment is a source of good and happiness.
e) Although the causes are different, many marriages today do not seem to be valid. Even being aware of so many tragedies that lead to the failure of many marriages, besides an appeal to perseverance, the need has arisen to streamline and accelerate the processes of annulment if the conditions required are obvious. So only a pastoral care which focuses on people and is faithful to the Word of God will be able to proclaim with gestures and words, the beauty of the family, even in times of crisis, and will be able to witness the merciful love of God.

During the Assembly, Hon. Graziano Delrio, Undersecretary of State at the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, brought the greetings of the Italian Government in the hope that Europe may strengthen its culture, its identity, and its civilization, and also open new roads, also in the area of the family.

The following speakers took part in this moment of sharing: Cardinal Oswald Gracias, President of FABC (Federation of Asian Catholic Bishops’ Conferences); H. Ex. Msgr. Louis Portela, Vice-President of SECAM (Symposium of Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of Africa and Madagascar), H. B. Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, and H. Ex. Msgr. Adelio Dell’Oro, member of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Kazakhstan.

During the meeting, the bishops expressed their appreciation for the service to the Church and to society which is being held at the European institutions by the Apostolic Nunciature in Brussels, the COMECE, and the Permanent Mission of the Holy See to the Council of Europe – represented by the newly appointed Permanent Observer, Msgr. Paolo Rudelli.

The Presidents of the Catholic Bishops’ Conferences have welcomed the announcement of the acquisition of legal personality by the Roman Catholic Church in Greece after over thirty years of dialogue with the Greek authorities.
The Plenary Assembly 2015 will be held in September 11 through 16, 2015, in the Holy Land at the invitation of His Beatitude Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem.



DE Press Release 06 10 2014.docx
EN Press Release 06 10 2014.docx
IT Press Release 06 10 2014.docx