A statement issued by the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE) urges EU leaders to offer a renewed vision for justice and peace to the continent and the world.
Concluding their 2023 Autumn Plenary Assembly, COMECE members described the current deterioration of international security and peace as a “dangerous dynamic, reminiscent of some of the darkest hours of humankind.”
Challenges to International Security
Highlighting a general scenario of polarization and erosion of trust, the bishops singled out in particular Russia's war against Ukraine, the struggles of the Armenian people in the Caucasus, and the ongoing suffering of civilians in Israel and Palestine.
They expressed grief for all the victims and underscored the potential repercussions of such global polarization and regional instabilities for European societies, and warned against the threats posed to dialogue, social cohesion, and the exacerbation of fears.
“Dangerous phenomena have been gaining ground in several European countries, such as anti-Semitism, radicalization and xenophobia, often fuelled by a systematic spread of disinformation and resulting in violent extremism and terrorism, which we strongly condemn in all their forms and expressions,“ they said.
Call for a renewed vision
Against this backdrop, the European bishops called upon EU leaders and citizens to actively work towards a Europe that leverages its potential to resolve conflicts, acting as a united force that upholds democratic principles and the rule of law, both within and beyond its borders.
“While not giving in to a logic of war, “they stated, “the European Union should open up new processes of dialogue and develop a coherent diplomacy of peace. In view of becoming a true bridge and peacemaker in its neighbourhood and in the world. “
Leadership in rebuilding
The bishops recalled the vision of the EU‘s founding father, Robert Schuman. They noted that in light of the upcoming 2024 European elections, EU leaders and citizens are called to initiate new processes of dialogue, displaying leadership in reconstructing peace, fostering multilateralism and demanding respect for international law.
“The EU should also show leadership in rebuilding a global architecture of peace, rooted in effective multilateralism and respect for international law, including sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of other States,” they said.
Arms control and culture of encounter
Mention of the need for coherent implementation of global arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament agreements was not neglected, and COMECE members pointed out that these should be “equally prioritized in view of fostering mutual trust as a pillar of international stability.
“Building lasting peace requires both architects and artisans,” they concluded, noting that we are all called to contribute to this common task, promoting a culture of encounter, solidarity and peace.
Finally, they entrusted their prayers to Our Lady, the Queen of Peace, and asked the Lord for the gift of reconciliation and peace to our tormented world.