ESZTERGOM, Hungary, AUG. 27, 2010 ( Representatives of the Council of European Episcopal Conferences are aiming to present the Church's outlook on the gifts of creation by way of a "green" pilgrimage.

The Sept. 1-5. event will bring pilgrims by boat from Esztergom, Hungary, to Bratislava, Slovakia; by coach from Bratislava to St. Polten, Austria; by train from St. Polten to Lake Erlaufsee, and on foot for 10 kilometers (six miles) to Austria's Shrine of Mariazell.

The pilgrims will reflect on the theme chosen by Benedict XVI for the 2010 World Day of Peace: “If you want to cultivate peace, protect creation."

“We thought of a pilgrimage in the heart of Europe because it seemed to us the means most in accordance with our aims," explained Father Duarte da Cunha, general secretary of the Council of European Episcopal Conferences (CCEE).

"The ecological 'crisis,' understood as the irrational and irresponsible use of the gifts of creation, which we are experiencing in Europe today, is not divorced from the continent’s current moral crisis, in fact one influences the other," he added.

The priest pointed to Benedict XVI's teaching that true concern about the planet cannot exclude a "serious reflection on human ecology, a spiritual conversion and a change in life styles."

"Often the theme of safeguarding creation is focussed on scientific, political and ethical issues. We think that it is also important to remember the spiritual, theological and anthropolgical vision which is at the basis of real concern for creation and is not tied to mere political and/or economic aims," Father da Cunha affirmed. "We cannot continue to tackle the issue in segments. The human person is whole!"

Among those who will be meeting the pilgrims along the way are Cardinal Peter Erdo, archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest and CCEE president; Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace; Archbishop André-Joseph Léonard of Malines-Brussels; and Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, archbishop of Vienna.

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