‘May the voice of Jesus return in Europe’ was the theme of the final message of the plenary assembly of the Council of European Bishops Conferences (CCEE). The conference gathered in Minsk, Belarus, from September 27-October 1 and relaunched the Christian mission of Europe.

Catholic observers noted the important role that Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco played in the choice of the theme. For quite some time Bagnasco was pushing the idea that evangelisation should begin all over again from Europe. Since he became CCEE president, he has continually stressed that “Europe has not exhausted its mission and history”, though he also added that Europe cannot be the measure for everything.

God does not retaliate

In his Angelus message last Sunday, Pope Francis said: “Brothers and sisters, God doesn’t retaliate! God loves, He does not retaliate, He waits to forgive us, to embrace us. Through the ‘rejected stones’ – and Christ is the first stone the builders rejected – through situations of weakness and sin, God continues to put out the ‘new wine’ of His vineyard, namely mercy; this is the new wine of the Lord’s vineyard: mercy. There is just one obstacle to God’s tenacious and tender will: our arrogance and our presumption, which at times even becomes violence. Faced with these attitudes, and where no fruit is produced, the Word of God keeps all its force of reproach and admonition: ‘the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits’ (v. 43).”

Cardinal condemns Catalan ‘betrayal’

Referring to the efforts to make Catalonia an independent State, Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera of Valencia said: “Catalonia cannot be without Spain, nor Spain without Catalonia – this is what constitutes the unity of Spain”.

He added: “Many of us feel intense pain, as if a dagger had been thrust into our guts. What has happened is very serious – an act of sedition, fraud and betrayal, a coup against the rule of law and a violation of the nation’s constitutional order and the coexistence in freedom of all Spaniards.”

He said Spanish Christians should follow the Gospel’s “calls not for fragmentation and division but for unity and integration,” and resist a “reprehensible act contrary to truth”, which would “inflict wounds and cause confrontation between families, friends and neighbours”.

(Compiled by Fr Joe Borg)


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