2012-10-01 Vatican Radio(Vatican Radio) On the eve of the Year of Faith – proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI – and of the world Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization, Council of European Bishops’ Conferences (CCEE) gathered for its annual Assembly in St. Gallen, Switzerland. The meeting took place on the occasion of the 1400th anniversary of Saint Gall’s arrival in the city, following an invitation from the local bishop, Bishop Markus Büchel.
The assembled Bishops approached their work as Christian pastors as well as citizens of Europe. From September 27 to 30, intense and fruitful work took place in the light of faith, in the usual climate of fraternity, and with the enthusiastic participation of all.
At the end of their work, the participants of the CCEE Plenary Assembly agreed on the following final message:
The Challenges of Evangelization in Europe:
the message from European Bishops
Message from the CCEE Plenary Assembly
Switzerland, St. Gallen, 30 September 2012
The Presidents of Europe’s Bishop’s Conferences, who gathered during their Plenary Assembly from September 27 to 30 in St. Gallen (Switzerland), discussed the challenge of evangelization on the eve of the Year of Faith, which was proclaimed by the Holy Father Benedict XVI. Bishops once again expressed their gratitude and affection to the Holy Father, and also to his Magisterium and Petrine ministry.
We are aware that Jesus Christ’s good news was God’s ultimate “yes” to the life of Man, freedom and love. As a matter of fact, the Gospel reveals to us the truth of God-Love and Man’s true face, which save Man from moral evil, leading him the to the fullness of his humanity. While acknowledging the serious drifts of economic laissez-faire and ethical libertarianism, we wish to highlight Christianity’s topical relevance, since it offers all human beings its unending topical legacy, by advocating a personalist and communal humanism. Looking towards Christ, the Church proclaims a Man who is redeemed from sin, open towards others and to God our Creator, strongly rooted in Him, who is the source and guarantee of those values that guide individual and peoples’ actions. Secular cultures, fighting over their different anthropological visions, should not look at the Christian message with suspicion, while it spreads its wings of faith and reason. Both wings belong to European history and are the foundation of our civilization. The Church, by bearing witness to faith’s truth, engages in the cultural and social debate with Her heritage of wisdom and culture, showing what righteous reason can bring. The intention to redefine society’s natural foundations, like the family or the coexistence between different historical and religious traditions, is not considered to be incidental.
We wonder about the aim of annoyed and systematically scornful attitudes towards Christian doctrine and faith, and therefore towards Christians, which sometimes lead to discrimination and instigation of hatred. The voice of Christians is considered bothersome by some, who accuse this voice of intolerance and obscurantism: but it is actually perceived as being dangerous, because it is a free voice that is unbending in front of particular interests and unwilling to give in to blackmail. Destabilizing individuals and societies is not for the good of Man, but just a way to pursue partisan interests.
We especially appreciate human freedom, which must be used to respect individual rights but also their religious beliefs, also in the light of the teachings of the Second Vatican Council.
We have been informed of the serious circumstances Catholics are facing in Bosnia Herzegovina. We intend to follow their situation with great attention and spirit of solidarity, hoping that their freedom will be ensured.
In the European context in which we live, we call for full respect and openness to dialogue, without any prejudice and arrogance. Christians feel their responsibility as citizens, and are endowed with a heritage of truth that has been proven by two thousand years of service, goodness and civilization. Our mission is a commitment for us to be wise Pastors of communities that are in history like yeast in the dough, and oil lamps that shine of the light of Christ for the good of all.