.- At the first meeting of its kind, European and United States bishops gathered to discuss the world’s major problems and to consider how their partnership can help bring about peace and justice in the world. “We are here to foster better understanding between the United States of America and Europe,” said Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington, D.C.
Representatives from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community (COMECE) met in Brussels Sept. 21-23 to explore a range of issues.
Their agenda included the cause of peace in the Balkans and the Holy Land; the challenge of global security; the promotion of development in Africa; the need for inter-religious dialogue with Islam; the plight of migrants and refugees; and the role of religion in public life, reported the COMECE Web site.
The bishops expressed their support for the Millennium Development Declaration and their hope that the United Nations will undertake the necessary reforms to eliminate poverty. They called for a new momentum for development in Africa and discussed the possibility of working together to follow the G7/8 agenda.
The bishops also applauded the progress made in the Middle East Peace Process and reaffirmed their solidarity with the Church in the Holy Land. They said inter-religious dialogue is essential to securing peace in the world and reflected on the relationship between Christianity and Islam.
Finally, they addressed the role of religion in public life. They acknowledged the respective roles of Church and State but said religion cannot be confined to the private sphere.
At the close of the meeting, the bishops pledged to continue their dialogue.
Other U.S. bishops at the meeting included Archbishop John Myers of Newark and Bishops Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn, William Murphy of Rockville Center, and John Ricard of Pensacola-Tallahassee.