On the eve of the 40th anniversary of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE) and at the end of the 60th anniversary of the Conference of European Churches (CEC), Pope Francis offered his blessings to both organisations.

The Pope conveyed his appreciation for the work of the Brussels-based Christian organisations in a private audience with COMECE President, H. Em. Card. Jean-Claude Hollerich SJ, and CEC President, Rev. Christian Krieger. The audience was held at the Vatican on 30 January 2020.

COMECE and CEC Presidents had the opportunity to share with His Holiness their common vision to bring, in ecumenical cooperation, the voice of Churches to the EU institutions.

The Pope appreciated and welcomed this common approach, which aims to implement, even more credibly, the vision of a united Europe.

“If we are to promote the Christian contribution to peace, reconciliation and the unity of Europe, we must speak with one voice and act together”, stated both Presidents.

The audience with Pope Francis allowed COMECE and CEC presidents to exchange on the challenges facing the European project, as well as on the contribution of Churches. It was also an occasion for Rev. Krieger to share CEC Strategic priorities “Together in Hope and Witness”, inspired by the biblical premise “You shall be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8).

The Holy Father heard intently and encouraged the work of both organisations.

(Source: COMECE/CEC)

European churches to pray, strengthen solidarity as United Kingdom leaves EU

The following is a message from the presidency of the Conference of European Churches. Rev. Christian Krieger (President, Reformed Protestant Church of Alsace and Lorraine), Rt Rev. Dr Guli Francis-Dehqani (Vice-President, Church of England), and Metropolitan Cleopas of Sweden and All Scandinavia (Vice-President, Ecumenical Patriarchate).

The United Kingdom officially leaves the European Union on 31 January. This date marks the end of a long period of debate and hesitation, opening up negotiations on the future relations between the United Kingdom and the EU. This does not change the mutual ecumenical commitment of European churches that grew in the last century under different political contexts.

On the contrary, there is a call for us to intensify the commitment of churches towards reconciliation, cooperation and solidarity in Europe.

As our countries move into a new political arrangement, we encourage all Christians to pray for our politicians as decisions are made that will shape our common future.

Once again, “we reaffirm the bonds of ecclesial and ecumenical fellowship that unite churches across Europe. We respond to the same call—to follow the one Christ and be moved by the same Holy Spirit. These are bonds that unite us across time and history, and move us forward together in hope and witness” as stated in CEC Presidency message on “Brexit” issued in 2019.

(Source: CEC)

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Progressive Catholic journalist, author and educator. Working on social justice, equality and Church renewal.