The Council of European Bishops' Conferences (CCEE) and the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) are set to send over 100 bishops to Rome from November 10 to 14 to discuss the issue of "Communion and Solidarity between Africa and Europe."
The meeting, under the patronage of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, is an initiative of Archbishop Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya of Kisangani, Democratic Republic of the Congo.
As well as the fifty bishops from each of the two continents, the meeting will be attended by representatives of Asia and the Americas. Members of support agencies and the Roman Curia are also expected to attend.
The themes and objectives to be discussed at the meeting will be: "to deepen the common responsibility for evangelization and pastoral care of social affairs"; "to compare the vision of humanity and social relations in Europe and Africa"; "to reflect on experiences of collaboration which already exist between Africa and Europe and to look for new ways of collaboration"; "to deepen the theme of the Church's relationship with politics and, in particular, co-responsibility in building peace and a more just society."
A working group has already met to plan this meeting, and a questionnaire has been sent to the individual bishops' conferences in Europe and Africa. The working document will be based on the answers received.
The CCEE was established in 1971 to respond to the pastoral objectives set forth in the Vatican Council II Decree "Christus Dominus." These objectives were incorporated into the Code of Canon Law in no. 459 where Para 1 states: "Mutual relationships are to be fostered between the conferences of bishops of different regions, especially those who are neighbors, for the promotion and protection of the greater good."