The Europe of people on the move. Overcoming fears. Planning projects.
VIII European Congress on Migration promoted by the Council of European Episcopal Conferences, in Málaga (Spain), from 27 April – 1 May 2010.
About one hundred delegates are scheduled to take part in the meeting, representing bishops, national directors for the pastoral care of migrants and pastoral workers, alongside representatives from civil society and the political world.
The aim of the meeting is to analyse the manifold causes and consequences of the migration movement thoughout Europe on the Church’s work.
“Mobility / migration, within the same country or between different countries, is today an important aspect of European society and it has many guises, from voluntary, often temporary mobility – for tourism, more or less forced life choices (e.g. “Travelling People” such as the Rom), the free decision to change residence (for pensioners, students, etc.) – to forced, often but not always definitive mobility: for reasons of work, for political reasons or economic poverty, due to situations of conflict or the lack of protection of human rights and personal freedom. To this last category belong especially refugees (from war or environmental refugees), political refugees, clandestine immigrants, etc.”, states Fr Duarte da Cunha, CCEE General Secretary. He continued: “If, therefore, on the one hand the very political development of the European Union (e.g. the Schengen Convention) increases and promotes temporary or long-term mobility within the EU member States, at the same time it forces Europe to carry out a more profound reflection on the mobility / migration of people from other continents. Mobility / migration is not just an internal European phenomenon, but one that in fact unites Europe with the whole world! The Catholic Church, too, feels it is part of this pehnomenon, which of course is not something new, but which is now something happening in ways and means that are very fast. Equally quick, therefore, must be the pastoral responses which we have and are adopting throughout Europe”.
According to the CCEE General Secretary the consequences of such mobility / migration are first of all cultural: “Europe is becoming multi-religious in that immigrants bring their own cultures and their own values”; but the consequences are also ecclesial: “the face of the ‘ecumene’ is changing. Christians of other denominations are settling in traditionally Catholic countries and establishing their own ecclesial structures (parishes, dioceses); and vice-versa, with Catholics settling in traditionally Orthodox or Protestant countries. The State-Church relationship itself is being transformed into a State-religions relationship”.
So what are the consequences for the Church’s work in Europe? By examining the theme in three stages, participants at the Congress will focus on the challenges facing three “institutions” which are largely affected by the phenomenon of migration. First of all the family: how does migration impact upon the education of children and what are the consequences of migration on religious education especially since migration to Europe is assuming an ever more “feminine” aspect and families are thus separated. Or again, what help needs to be given, in order to guarantee migrants a dignified life in old age, too?
Secondly, the Parish: to what extent is inter-culturalism an enriching element of pastoral work? What is the future of native-language communities? What are the “bridge-building” roles which must be undertaken by pastoral workers in the context of inter-cultural pastoral activity? What is the impact of inter-religious dialogue on catechesis and the catechumenate?
And finally Society: What is the specifically Christian element which the Christian citizen is called to bring to the world of politics and the economy?
This process will provide an opportunity to examine the fears that must be overcome and plan projects also for the new evangelisation of the continent.
The meeting is open to journalists. The working languages (with simultaneous translation) are French, English, Italian, German and Spanish.
The programme for the meeting is available on the CCEE website (www.ccee.ch). In due course, also available on the site will be the list of participants and various texts under embargo.
Information for the Media - HERE
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The Council of the Bishops’ Conferences of Europe (CCEE) gathers the Presidents of the current 33 European Bishops’ Conferences of this Continent, represented by their Presidents, and the Archbishops of Luxembourg and of the Principality of Monaco, as well as the Bishop of Chişinău (Moldavia). The President is Cardinal Péter Erdő, Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, Primate of Hungary; the Vice-Presidents are Cardinal Josip Bosanic, Archbishop of Zagreb, and Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard, Archbishop of Bordeaux. The General Secretary of CCEE is Fr Duarte da Cunha. The headquarters of the Secretariat is in St Gallen (Switzerland).