Role of Priests in Catechesis of Europe Is Studied

At a Meeting Called by the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences

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ROME, MAY 6, 2003 ( Eighty bishops and national directors of catechesis are meeting in Rome this week to reflect on «Priests and Catechesis in Europe,» in the context of the profound transformation undergone in this area.

The meeting was called by the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences (CCEE), in cooperation with the Italian conference’s National Catechetical Office.

In Europe, where «the number of priests decreases and the average age increases, … the role of priests in catechesis must be rethought with realism and confidence» in the context of «a broader reflection on the Church and, in particular, on the role of the laity,» explained Walter Ruspi, director of the catechetical office.

Commenting on CCEE’s initiative, Ruspi stressed the growing need to modify the catechetical service, placing it within the larger context of evangelization.

«It’s true that it’s not always easy to renew concrete ways, although the majority of the clergy is involving itself in this process of change,» he continued.

«This meeting of bishops delegated for catechesis, and of the respective national directors, is an important moment of dialogue between the episcopal conferences,» he added.

«Priests are invited by the Church to live their mission of «Fathers in the faith and guides in the life of the Spirit,» Ruspi concluded.

CCEE is made up of the presidents of the present 34 episcopal conferences. It is headed by Bishop Amédée Grab of Chur. The vice presidents are Archbishop Josip Bozanic of Zagreb, and Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, archbishop of Westminster.

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