ROME, JUNE 15, 2010 ( The secretaries-general of European bishops' conferences concluded their 38th annual meeting in Rome at the close of the Year for Priests, taking the opportunity to affirm their communion with the Successor of Peter.

The meeting was held last Thursday through Sunday.

"Along with thousands of priests coming from all over the world, the secretaries consolidated their communion with Peter and his ministry, a source of inspiration for their work with bishops' conferences," a concluding communiqué reported. "The Year for Priests was an excellent opportunity for the Church to probe into the meaning of vocation, life, spirituality and priesthood.

"As pointed out by many attendants, over the past year, bishops' conferences all over Europe took several initiatives aimed at delving into the specificities of modern priesthood."

Abuse scandal

At the meeting, the bishops considered the "topical and very painful" issue of sexual abuse of minors by clergy.

The prelates reviewed the measures to be taken, and emphasized the importance of "an exchange of information across bishops' conferences."

"All bishops' conferences are willing to follow along the lines of the Pope," the communiqué affirmed. "A few bishops' conferences have even taken impressive measures to prevent further abuse from happening and support and help the victims and their families, whose suffering was unanimously condemned."

Media relations

The director of the Vatican press office, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, joined with the spokesman of the Italian bishops' conference, Monsignor Domenico Pompili, to speak about Church relations with the press.

The communiqué reported Monsignor Pompili's affirmation that the "ultimate risk is to give, and let the media give, a stereotyped image of the Church: a form of actual reductionism of Christianity in a social context dominated by a polytheism of values, according to which Christianity is accepted and perceived as one of the many competitors in the daily battle to reaffirm certain values."