The Bishops Conferences of England, Wales and Scotland are to maintain their observer statuses at Comece, the commission representing the European Union’s Catholic bishops, after Brexit. Source: The Tablet.
The decision was announced during Comece’s recent plenary meeting in Brussels.
“EU churches wish to send a clear signal that they stand for a united Europe”, said the Austrian Church’s Comece delegate, Bishop Egidius Zsifkovics. “Brexit is a tragic development, particularly since Europe owes so much to Britain, so it’s important to all our members that British representatives continue participating in our discussions”.
Catholic bishops from across the EU’s 28 member states attended the spring assembly in Brussels, as did the EU Commission’s president, Jean-Claude Junker.
In his 50-minute speech to the COMECE assembly Mr Junker expressed his admiration for the social teaching of the Church. “I am a fervent advocate of the social doctrine of the Church,” he said. “All of this is part of a doctrine that Europe does not apply often enough. I would like us to rediscover the values and guiding principles of the social teaching of the Church”.
Mr Junker said the will of British voters to leave the EU should be respected, but added that the Union was “in a better condition” than many believed, helped by its espousal of Christian values, including “respect for human dignity regardless of race and sexual orientation”.
Elsewhere in the meeting the bishops reaffirmed the Church’s commitment to address challenges facing Europe, and singled out new technologies, global warming and migration. A joint statement from Comece members urged European citizens to “protect and promote the common good”.
However an Italian bishop, Mariano Crociata, told Vatican Radio many Europeans were now unsure “why their countries should be in the EU” having come to see it as “a purely bureaucratic reality, which lives its own life without dealing with the fate of nations and people’s problems”.