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Thursday, March 30, 2017
Stand against aggressive secularism in Europe' urges Bishop Kenney
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¬†Bishop William Kenney CP, Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham, and Spokesperson on European Affairs for the Catholic Bishops, Conference of England & Wales, spoke about what he described as "a vociferous and aggressive secularism in certain parts of Europe," during a speech at a luncheon in Birmingham, hosted by Mrs Raduta Matache, Head of Mission at the Embassy of Romania. Leaders of Birmingham City Council and senior industrialists were among the guests at the luncheon at St Paul's Club, situated in St Paul's Square in the Birmingham Jewellery Quarter on Thursday 15 March. Bishop Kenney said: "The deep religious traditions which Romania brings with it into the European Union are very welcome. At a time when there is a vociferous and aggressive secularism in certain parts of Europe it must be said that all people who have any faith, and not just Christians, are going to need to stand together for the values which Europe and not least Romania stand for. "It is of great importance that Romania brings all its religious traditions with it, for the sake of all of the members of the EU. The EU has probably been the most successful peace-project in human history. Peace can never be taken for granted as it has to be won in every generation." Earlier, Mrs Matache, Chargť d'Affairs said: "In the Middle Ages, there were three Romanian principalities. The formation of the modern Romanian State occurred during the 19th century. Moldova united with Wallachia and formed Romania in 1859, the year when the St Paul's Club was founded in Birmingham." She said: "In between the two World Wars, Romania was a democracy, the fourth largest economy in Europe, a country with an active diplomacy, respected internationally. We still have those times in our collective memory. We want to regain the status that we used to have. While not all the problems resulting from the communist legacy have been solved, there is reason to hope that one day they will be." Mrs Matache recalled that Pope John Paul II chose Romania as the first predominantly Eastern Orthodox country that a Pope visited since the Great Schism in 1054, the event that separated the Eastern Orthodox and Western Catholic Church. She said: "We were on the streets during the extraordinary visit of Pope John Paul II to our country in May 1999 and the memory has remained with us ever since." She added: "In September this year Romania has the great honour of hosting the Third European Ecumenical Christian Assembly. This is an event of great importance for Christian Churches throughout Europe, and the city of Sibiu, European Capital of Culture in 2007, looks forward to welcoming the delegates."
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