ST. GALLEN, Switzerland, SEPT. 25, 2012 (Zenit.org).- When members of the Council of European Episcopal Conferences gather Thursday to begin their plenary assembly, they will be addressing, according to the group's president, the "greatest evil of our time."
That evil is a "lack of hope," according to Cardinal Péter Erdő, archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, Hungary, and CCEE president.
The theme of the bishops' four-day meeting is the social and spiritual aspects of the challenges of our times. The bishops will consider the topic through three different perspectives.
These three interventions have been entrusted to Archbishop André-Joseph Léonard of Malines-Brussels, president of the Belgian Bishops’ Conference; Professor Marta Cartabia, lecturer in law and judge of the Constitutional Court in Italy; and Professor Kuno Schedler, lecturer in business economics at the University of St Gallen.
Cardinal Erdő noted that the difficult economy can bring people to "easily allow themselves to succumb to the major epidemic of our time: desperation."
The 60-year-old cardinal suggested that an "anthropological revolution" is under way, which "disorientates the human person, deceives the person and runs the risk of making the person lose him or herself."
But, he continued, the Church has the answer to "the most profound expectations of humanity, to its most hidden yearning and nostalgia for the Other. The answer is Christ."
"The new evangelization, the theme which has been accompanying us in recent years, is an opportunity and an appeal, to work so that Christ, always the same yesterday and today, can be understood and welcomed by everyone," the CCEE president proposed. "A heart which has found its way in Christ will be able to perform miracles in the family, at school, at work and in different national and international institutions."
The bishops will also look at other issues, including the issue of anti-Christian discrimination in Europe and the persecution of Christians throughout the world; the question of freedom of religion; the work of the European Union and the Council of Europe; the Year of Faith; and the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council.
Also attending the meeting in St. Gallen will be the prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, and representatives from the continental ecclesial bodies for Latin America (CELAM) and Africa (SECAM), as well as Kazakhstan. Various bishops from the Swiss Bishops’ Conference will also attend some parts of the meeting.