Scottish bishops meet in Spain

 The Scottish bishops swapped Scotland for Spain as the venue for their first meeting of 2005. The Conference, led by president Cardinal Keith Patrick O'Brien, spent a week at the Scots College in Salamanca. They were welcomed by Mgr Denis Carlin, Rector of the college, who outlined what the future holds for the former seminary. The bishops also visited Avila and Segovia, where they concelebrated Mass at the Tomb of St John of the Cross. The main event of the week was the visit and series of talks by Mgr Noel Teanor, Secretary General of COMECE. COMECE is the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community. It comprises bishops delegated by the Catholic Bishops' Conferences of the European Union. Mgr Treanor is based at the Secretariat's HQ in Brussels. COMECE was launched in 1980 and was preceded by the European Catholic Pastoral Information Service (SIPECA, 1976-1980). Discussions during the 1970s about creating an instrument of liaison between the Bishops' Conferences and the European Community led to the decision, on the eve of the first direct elections to the European Parliament in 1979, to establish COMECE. There are 21 delegate bishops from Bishops' Conferences throughout Europe, including Scotland and England and Wales. Mgr Treanor outlined the role of COMECE to the Scottish bishops. Among the organisations aims are to monitor and analyse the political process of the European Union; and to inform and raise awareness within the Church of the development of EU policy and legislation He stressed, too, that it is COMECE's role to promote reflection, based on the Church's social teaching, on the challenges facing a united Europe Commenting on the week, Archbishop Mario Conti of Glasgow, said, "It was a successful gathering in very beautiful surroundings. "The excellent agenda gave us all the opportunity to dedicate time to prayer and reflection on the Eucharist, which was particularly apt and valuable in this Year of the Eucharist. "We enjoyed a number of excellent submissions, most notably from Mgr Treanor, who outlined how the European Community is governed and how the Catholic Church, working with the other Churches, managed to get incorporated into the proposed constitution matters which were of interest to it. "He outlined that the Churches had, and continue to have, a very valuable role to play, and contribution to make, at the heart of the Community, which was both inspiring, and enlightening, for all of us." Source: Scottish Catholic Media Ofice

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