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New steps with the Gospel
The 40th CCEE General Secretaries´ meeting in Edinburgh
“In Scotland we’re at the margins of the Continent but we are proud of our long Christian tradition in Scotland that dates back to Saint Ninian and Saint Columba in the first half of the first millennium”. Cardinal Keith Patrick O’Brien, Archbishop of St. St. Andrews and Edinmburgh, President of the Scottish Bishops’ Conference, made explicit mention of the Christian roots of Europe in his welcoming address to the General Secretaries of the Bishops’ Conference of Europe convened in Edinburgh for their 40th annual meeting (ongoing until July 2). SIR Europe’s correspondent Daniele Rocchi reported on the work of the meeting. “Although since the times of 16th century Protestant Reform most Scottish Christians became members the Presbyterian Church, today – the cardinal recalled in his opening address – the Catholic community plays an important role in the life of our country. Many Catholics living in Scotland, approximately 800 thousand (out of 5 million) have retraced their ancestry’s origins in other European regions. It is thus our hope and wish that none of you may feel you are foreigners while you are here with us”. In the homely for the opening Eucharistic celebration Msgr. George Frendo, auxiliary bishop of Tirana-Durazzo, reflecting on the solemnity of St. Peter’s and Paul, highlighted the two apostles as models of evangelization. “They spoke a language that everyone, from all cultures, understood. This is what the Church needs today: to outline the paths and identify the tools enabling us meet our goal that is Gospel proclamation. The Church must speak all the idioms spoken by the peoples. Both apostles are an inspiration for us and for the new evangelization”.
The program. The meeting of the General Secretaries from June 30 focused on the theme of the new evangelization with special emphasis on the testimony of faith in the realms of politics, culture, law and public opinion. Other themes on the General Secretaries’ agenda includes: the Church’s financial systems; ecumenism in Europe, and the translation of the liturgical texts of the Catholic Church. The meeting in Edinburgh takes places precedes by just few months the opening of the Synod of Bishops on the new evangelisation and it marks the conclusion of the debates opened during last year’s meeting in Vilnius, when the General Secretaries reflected on specific aspects of the new evangelization such as the relationship between culture and the quality of faith, spiritual life, and Church membership. The reflections were articulated on three planes: the national level, that of Scotland, was entrusted to Professor John Haldane, Director of the Centre for Ethics, Philosophy and Public Affairs of the University of St Andrews (Scotland); the European level to Msgr. Piotr Marzurkiewicz, General Secretary of COMECE (Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community) and to Msgr Aldo Giordano, the Holy See’s Permanent Observer at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg; and finally by Msgr Ronnie Jenkins, General Secretary of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, whose reflection was centered on the American situation.
CCEE portal and European website. Participants also discussed the new CCEE portal and the initiatives aimed at stepping up internal and external Church communication in Europe. Alongside with the meeting ongoing in Edinburgh, the website www.agensir.eu[>>] has been activated, further typifying the website of SIR Europe set up in 2001, whose development is also due to the cooperation with the Council of the European Bishops’ Conferences, (CCEE), the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community (COMECE), and the network of Catholic Church correspondents in Europe. The two-language website – in English and Italian – proposes news items, editorials and reportages, reflections on the life and on the thought of the Catholic Church in Europe and on the dialogue with European institutions.
“It’s yet another step towards the accomplishment of a truly European information service coordinated from the news bureaus in Rome, Brussels and Bratislava”, said SIR editor in chief Paolo Bustaffa. “It’s a professional experience which, as in the ‘Court of the Gentiles’ is sensitive to cultural debate, and to ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue. From this perspective it is to be viewed in synergy with Catholic agencies from a dozen of European countries”.