Catholic Bishops of Europe Study Question of Restitution of Church’s Property


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From October 1 to 4, 2009, an annual plenary meeting of the Council of Episcopal Conferences of Europe (Consilium Conferentiarum Episcoporum Europae (CCEE)) was held in France, in which the heads and official representatives of the 34 national Episcopal conferences of Europe took part. From the Synod of Bishops of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC), as the representative of Patriarch Lubomyr, in the work of the CCEE participated Bishop Bohdan (Dzyurakh), secretary of the Synod of Bishops of the UGCC, head of the Patriarch's administration.

CCEE was also attended by the representatives of the Holy See and guests from other continents, who were in a position to communicate with their European colleagues.

The theme of this year's meeting is "Relations of the church and state." In a preamble to the plenary meeting, the president of CCEE cardinal Peter Erdio presented the purpose of the meeting: "Executing the pastoral task for God's people, the bishops realize a necessity to be familiar with the decisions and work on the relations with the church of every European state. We also will consider the questions which remain unresolved, in particular, the confiscation of church property during communism... Presently there exist many various models which regulate these relations. However, that which was good for Poland, would be destructive for Turkey. There cannot be only one model."

The participants of the meeting discussed the relations of the church and state in the context of the recent visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the Czech Republic and the Year of Priesthood, which began in the Catholic Church. The bishops of Europe placed their attention also on the theme
"The church and the media," in particular, on one hand, how church life is covered in secular media, and on the other hand, how the church should cooperate with the media world for the spread of the Gospel, and also how to use modern technology more effectively inside the church for evangelistic and pastoral activity. Furthermore, according to Bishop Bohdan, during the plenary meetings important themes of migration, catechization, ecology, Catholic schools, and ministering in the higher educational institutions were examined for the European continent in general and in particular for the church in Europe. Also, the coverage of gender problems in the European legislation was discussed, and current questions in the industry of bioethics were studied.

Background information
In Europe there are 34 national Catholic Episcopal conferences, which create one all-European organ - the Council of Episcopal Conferences of Europe, which from 2006 is headed by the president of the CCEE cardinal Peter Erdio.

Plenary assemblies enable communication between the separate Episcopal conferences and to produce a compatible position toward the different challenges of the modern age. For the UGCC, such meetings are especially important because it allows the church to enter Europe and by this, in particular, Ukraine is perceived as a European state.;32081/