Bishop appeals for church solidarity with EU leaders

Mike Dwane

Reporter:

Mike Dwane

A BISHOP has issued an appeal to Christians to engage with the EU’s political leaders in meeting the challenges presented by the currency crisis across the continent.

A BISHOP has issued an appeal to Christians to engage with the EU’s political leaders in meeting the challenges presented by the currency crisis across the continent.

Noel Treanor, Bishop of Down and Connor, was speaking in Limerick at a conference at Mary Immaculate College to mark the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council.

The re-evangelisation of Europe is a central theme of the General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, currently ongoing in Rome and to which Mary Immaculate’s own head of theology Fr Eamonn Conway has been appointed expert advisor.

Despite growing secularism across Europe since the birth of the EU, Bishop Treanor said its founding fathers such as Robert Schuman and Konrad Adenauer were men motivated by faith.

“The European project, a new political venture, required courage, leadership and trust on the part of political leaders, civil servants and citizens. Over the decades Europe has delivered on its founding values - peace, reconciliation, solidarity, improvement in working standards, and help for the poorer regions of Europe,” said Bishop Treanor.

Culminating in the Lisbon Treaty, which includes a reference to Europe’s Christian heritage, European law had “gradually consolidated a place for the religious voice in the European public square”.

Bishop Treanor cited European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso’s recent call for new treaty changes “towards a federation of nation states - as opposed to a super state - in order to equip the eurozone and the European Union with the governance capacity to respond to the challenges arising from the euro-crisis”.

Such “necessary and imaginative steps”, while they needed to be debated, required the support of citizens and “churches and Christians” needed to be involved in generating the goodwill for that to come about, the bishop said.

Other speakers at the conference included Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor, the former head of the Catholic Church in England; journalist Mary Kenny and theologians and academics from Ireland, Europe and the United States.