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Thursday, December 8, 2016
Bishops call on EU to promote peace
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 The Bishops of the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community (COMECE) called on the European Union to promote a more just and peaceful global order at their Spring Plenary Meeting in Brussels on 27-28 March 2003. The Bishops considered the response of the European Union to the current international crisis and discussed its implications for the work of the European Convention. They adopted a statement on the Iraq crisis entitled "Blessed are the peacemakers", expressing their concern for the suffering of the people and urging the leaders and institutions of the European Union to work together for peace and justice in the Middle East and the wider world. The Bishops welcomed the fact that a consensus seems to be emerging within the Convention on, for example, the contribution of Churches and religious communities in European society and respect for their status under national law. The Bishops reaffirmed their commitment to the principle of a secular state. They emphasised that the Churches' proposals' to the Convention reflect the role of religion at the service of society as a whole and do not discriminate against any community of faith or conviction. The Bishops called on the European Union to respect the different ethical approaches to research with human embryos and embryonic stem cells in member states, and therefore not to fund such research under the Sixth Research Framework Programme. The Bishops elected the Presidium of COMECE for the next three years. Bishop Josef Homeyer of Hildeshem, Germany will continue as President, and Bishop Adrianus van Luyn of Rotterdam, Netherlands will continue as Vice-President. Archbishop Hippolyte Simon of Clermont, France was also elected as Vice-President. COMECE is a commission of the Catholic Bishops' Conferences of the member states of the European Union. The Bishops' Conferences of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Switzerland are associate members. The following bishops participated in the Plenary Meeting on behalf of their Bishops' Conferences: Bishop Josef Homeyer (Germany); Bishop Adrianus van Luyn (Netherlands); Bishop John Crowley (England & Wales); Bishop Teodoro De Faria (Portugal); Bishop Jozef De Kesel (Belgium); Bishop Joseph Duffy (Ireland); Bishop Egon Kapellari (Austria); Bishop William Kenney (Scandinavia); Bishop Giuseppe Merisi (Italy); Bishop John Mone (Scotland); Archbishop Hippolyte Simon (France); Archbishop Elias Yanes Álvarez (Spain); Bishop Amédée Grab (Switzerland) ­ President of CCEE; Bishop Václav Mal (Czech Republic); Archbishop Henryk Muszynski (Poland); Bishop Frantisek Rabek (Slovakia); Bishop Antón Stres (Slovenia); Bishop András Veres (Hungary); Rev. Gintaras Grusas (Lithuania); Rev. Vanni Xuereb (Malta).
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