Swiss Bishop Succeeds Vlk on European Council

STRASBOURG, France, APR. 23, 2001 ( The new president of the Council of European Catholic Episcopal Conferences (CCEE), Swiss Bishop Amedee Grab, insists that «the European Union cannot only have an economic and financial reality.»

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Bishop Grab, 71, of Chur, who will take over the presidency of the council in June, is also president of the Swiss bishops´ conference. In his new post, he is replacing Archbishop Miloslav Vlk of Prague, Czech Republic, who has headed the CCEE since 1993.

Bishop Grab was elected Friday by the 34 presidents of the national bishops´ conferences. The election took place during a plenary assembly convoked on the eve of the European ecumenical meeting.

The two vice presidents of the CCEE are English Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O´Connor, archbishop of Westminster, and Croatian Archbishop Josip Bozanic of Zagreb.

«Europe will not be able to bring about real and lasting political unity if it is not faithful to the most profound vocation, which stems from its roots, among which the Gospel message is of utmost importance,» Bishop Grab said in a statement, hours after being elected.

He said the first commitment for the churches in Europe is «to proclaim the faith,» in keeping with «the most rich, complete and beautiful inspiration, which comes from the apostolic letter ´Tertio Millennio Ineunte,´ which the Holy Father gave us Jan. 6.»

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