Pope to European Bishops: Proclaim Gospel to Continent

Meets With Leaders of Council of Episcopal Conferences

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ROME, MAY 18, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI and the leaders of the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences are considering strategies for proclaiming the Gospel to Europe.

The Pope received in audience Monday the president, vice presidents and secretary-general of the council: Cardinal Peter Erdo, archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest; Cardinal Josip Bozanic, archbishop of Zagreb; Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard, archbishop of Bordeaux; and Father Duarte da Cunha.

The group later met with the Holy Father’s secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.

A statement from the council reported that the Pontiff recalled with the prelates his trip to Portugal last week, and that he expressed «overwhelming feelings and joy.»

The Pope and prelates went on to consider the situation of the Catholic Church in Europe; the vitality of some local dioceses, especially in countries where Catholics are a minority; the problems the Church must address and the council’s activities and projects focused on carrying out its mission to proclaim the Gospel in Europe.

The group further noted that in the various meetings and events promoted by the European bishops, there is always affirmation of communion with the Successor of Peter, and gratitude for Benedict XVI’s «luminous teaching.»

At the end of the meeting, Cardinal Erdo gave the Pope a reproduction of the icon «Saints for Europe,» a work created by the council’s vice secretary-general, Father Ferenc Janka, a Hungarian Greek Catholic priest.

The council presidency will continue in Rome through Wednesday, meeting with various leaders of the Roman Curia.

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