VOCATION AND BEGINNINGS OF CCEE
To the Council of the Bishops´ Conferences of Europe (CCEE) belong, as members, the current 33 European Bishops’ Conferences of this Continent, represented by right by their Presidents, and the Archbishops of Luxembourg, of the Principality of Monaco, the Maronite Archbishop of Cyprus and the Bishop of Chişinău (Moldova Rep.) and the Eparchial Bishop of Mukachevo. The President is Cardinal Péter Erdő, Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, Primate of Hungary; the Vice-Presidents are Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, Archbishop of Genoa, and Mgr Józef Michalik, Archbishop of Przemyśl. The General Secretary is Mgr. Duarte da Cunha. The Secretariat is based at St Gallen (Switzerland). On 18 November 1965, towards the end of Vatican Council II, a meeting of 13 Presidents of European Bishops´ Conferences took place.
They formed a Committee made up of six delegates of the Bishops´ Conferences and a Secretariat whose task it was promote liaising and reflection on methods and contents for a future effective and lasting cooperation among the Bishops´ Conferences of Europe. Mgr Roger Etchegaray was designated as person in charge.
The Committee first met at a symposium in Noordwijkerhout (Netherlands) from 10 to 13 July 1967.
A further working session took place among the Presidents of the Bishops´ Conferences on 7 October 1967. They resolved to call a second symposium, which was held in Chur (Switzerland) from 7 to 10 July 1969.
The delegates of the Bishops´ Conferences later met in Rome on 20 October 1969.
Finally, the constituent Assembly of CCEE took place on 23 and 24 March, again in Rome.
Since 1993, the Bishops´ Conferences of CCEE have been represented by the Presidents themselves rather than by delegates.
CCEE General Secretaries:
- Card. Roger Etchegaray (1971-1979)
- Card. Basil Hume (1979-1986)
- Card. Carlo Maria Martini (1986-1993)
- Card. Miloslav Vlk (1993-2001)
- Mgr Amédée Grab (2001– 2006)
- Card. Péter Erdő (2006– )
- Rev. Alois Sustar (1971-1977) - later to become Archbishop of Ljubjana
- Rev. Ivo Fürer (1977-1995) - later to become Bishop of St. Gallen. Rev. Paul Huot-Pleuroux (France) will be co-secretary from 1977 to 1980
- Mgr Aldo Giordano (1995-2008)
- Father Duarte Nuno Queiroz de Barros da Cunha (2008- )
The aims and goals of CCEE are defined by its Statute (art.1). The one currently in force was approved by the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II on 2 December 1995. The first directives of CCEE had previously been approved by the Supreme Pontiff Paul VI on 10 January 1977.
The Council of the Bishops´ Conferences of Europe (CCEE) is a body linking in communion the Bishops´ Conferences of Europe. Its aim, in a world moving towards greater unity, is the promotion and safeguard of the welfare of the Church. Specifically:
- the practice of collegiality in hierarchical communion cum et sub Romano Pontefice;
- the practise of greater communication and cooperation among Bishops and Bishops´ Conferences of Europe notwithstanding the autonomy of each member´s area of interest and expertise, in order to promote and inspire a new evangelisation in the European context;
- the promotion of communion with the Councils of Bishops´ Conferences of other continents;
- support and cooperation to ecumenism in Europe, towards the unity of Christians;
- ecclesial witness in European society.
Plenaries and regular meetings
The main annual meeting is the plenary Assembly, whose members are the Presidents of the Bishops´ Conferences and the Archbishops of Luxembourg and of the Principality of Monaco as well as the Bishop of Chişinău (Moldavia). The Prefect of the Congregation for the Bishops, the Bishops who are Presidents of the CCEE pastoral Commissions, the President and the Secretary of COMECE, the Apostolic Nuncio to the European Union, the permanent Envoy to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg and the President of the Bishops´ Conference of Kazakhstan are also normally invited.
The General Secretaries and the Media Officers and Spokespersons of the Bishops’ Conferences also meet on an annual basis.
More recently, the Presidents of the Bishops´ Conferences of South-East Europe, where the Catholic Church is a numerical minority, also hold regular meetings.
The work of CCEE also comprises a number of symposiums, usually taking place every 3 years. They usually address issues crucial to evangelisation and enculturation of the Gospel in the European context.
Areas of operation
Environment – Buddhism – Catechesis – Ecumenism – Europe/Africa – Islam – Media – Migration – Education and schools – Universities – Vocations
Partners and Cooperation
The service CCEE provides is carried out in close communion with the Vatican Secretariat of State, the Congregation for the Bishops’ and the Dicasteries of the Holy See in charge of the various areas of competence.
For what concerns the process of European unification, CCEE cooperates principally with the Commission of the Bishops´ Conferences of the European Community (COMECE).
Cooperation is also underway between CCEE and Episcopal bodies of other continents: Africa (SECAM-SCEAM), Latin America (CELAM) and Asia (FABC).
CCEE actively sustains the Coordination of the Bishops´ Conferences in support of the Church in the Holy Land.
There is regular informal dialogue with European ecclesial bodies.