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Monday, May 22, 2006


VATICAN CITY, MAY 20, 2006 (VIS) - Made public today was a communique from the Special Council for Europe of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops. The council has just completed is sixth meeting, under the presidency of Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops.

  The communique recalls the celebration in autumn 1999 of the Second Special Assembly for Europe of the Synod of Bishops, the last of the so-called "continental synods," and the promulgation by John Paul II of the post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation "Ecclesia in Europa" on June 28, 2003.

  "Since then," the communique reads, "the particular Churches in Europe have considered the pontifical document as a precious point of reference in their profound analysis of the current complex situation and in their search for valid solutions, with a view to appropriate pastoral activity. ... The document has been circulated through a large number of conferences, seminars and work groups."

  Benedict XVI is well aware, the text continues, of "the difficulties that the Catholic Church, as well as other Churches and Christian communities, must face in a Europe marked by a climate of widespread religious indifference, by a consumer spirit that also extends to the countries of central and eastern Europe, by a positivist mentality, ... by moral and ethical relativism, ... and by a secularized view of society that seeks to order human affairs with no reference to God or transcendent values."

  "Furthermore, the conditions of Christian witness in Europe are becoming ever more urgent and cannot but call the attention of pastors and communities to certain areas such as: demographics, migration, the deviation of civil law, the institution of the family, bioethics, unemployment, and cooperation with States and with the European Union. ... From an ecclesial standpoint, attention to the pastoral care of vocations remains very high in a number of countries."

  "Debate in the council focussed on these topics," the communique concludes, "and the members of the Special Council for Europe of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops agreed the date of their next meeting, which will take place on April 23, 2007."
SE/SYNOD:COUNCIL EUROPE/ETEROVIC                VIS 20060522 (370)

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