The presidents of the European Episcopal Conferences and the superiors of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith began today three days of meetings in Esztergom, Hungary.
By the Instruction of 23 February 1967, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, on behalf of Blessed Pope Paul VI, had asked the Episcopal Conferences to institute an internal Doctrinal Commission, as a advisory organ for the same Episcopal Conferences and for the individual bishops in their concern for matters of doctrine of the faith.
To strengthen collaboration between the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Doctrinal Commissions, in 1982 it was decided to periodically gather together the presidents of the aforementioned Commissions at a continental level.
One of the original characteristics of these meetings was the fact that the superiors of the Congregation travel to the various continents, thus underlining the importance of local and regional issues and their responsibility in facing doctrinal questions.
The first of these meetings, during the prefecture of the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, took place in Latin America, in Bogota, (1984); it was followed by meetings in Kinshasa, Africa (1987); Vienna, Europa (1989); Hong Kong, Asia (1993); Guadalajara, Latin America (1996); and San Francisco, North America (1999). During the prefecture of Cardinal William Levada another encounter took place in Dar es Salaam (2009).
Now, Cardinal Peter Erdo, archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest and president of the Council of Episcopal Conferences of Europe (CCEE), has accepted the request made by Cardinal Gerhard L. Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for a new meeting with the presidents of the European Doctrinal Commissions in Esztergom.
Such an encounter demonstrates the will on the part of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to support the local episcopates – as Pope Francis emphasises – in their commitment to the promotion and protection of the doctrine of the faith, taking into consideration the specific challenges to be faced in Europe today.
Pope Francis sent the meeting participants a message, which can be read here: