Europe-Africa Symposium to Be a First of Its Kind

ROME, JUNE 25, 2004 ( Two episcopal groups have begun preparations for a symposium between European and African bishops, to be held here Nov. 10-13.

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Sponsored by the Vatican Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and with the collaboration of solidaristic organizations, the event is being prepared by the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences (CCEE) and the Symposium of the Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM).

According to a note issued Wednesday by the CCEE, 50 bishops of Africa and 50 bishops of Europe will attend the symposium. Episcopal conferences will appoint the participants. There will be delegates of «organizations of solidarity,» representatives of Vatican dicasteries, and delegates of continental ecclesial bodies of Asia, Latin America and North America.

«It is the first time that such a representative number of bishops of the two continents will meet to question themselves on the common responsibility of the Church and of the peoples themselves,» the CCEE noted.

At a plenary assembly last October, the CCEE president lamented «the international political and economic cynicism which seems to have abandoned Africa to a fate of ever greater poverty and marginalization.»

But Europe, which «is writing a new page of political and economic unity,» lacks «offspring» and has «many forms of exhaustion,» and also has need of Africa.

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