By Michele Raviart
Jean Claude Hollerich, archbishop of Luxembourg, has been named president of COMECE, the structure that brings together delegates from the episcopal conferences of the member countries of the European Union in Brussels. A Jesuit with many years experience of study and teaching in Japan, Hollerich, was appointed Archbishop of Luxembourg by Pope Benedict XVI on July 12, 2011 and will remain in office at Comece for five years.
Bishop Hollerich: "Christian citizens committed to Europe"
Commenting on his election, Archbishop Hollerich said he was "ready to work with all people of good will who are committed to respecting and protecting human dignity". The commitment to carry on the dialogue with the European institutions for a peace project with the common good is also confirmed. "Christians are not a group of interest that speaks in favour of religions," said the new president, "but they are European citizens committed to building Europe, our common home".
Cardinal Marx: "the Church in Europe is building bridges"
The Archbishop succeeds Cardinal Reinhard Marx, archbishop of Munich and Freising, who has held office for the past six years. The Church in Europe "is a builder of bridges between East and West, between people and opinions", said card. Marx on the occasion of the Comece Plenary, which lasted three days and ended Thursday, reaffirming the role of European bishops on a continent that is experiencing a phase of "political tension" and "mutual social incomprehension".
Also appointed four vice presidents
A special "Mass for Europe " was held in the cathedral of Notre-dame du Sablon in Brussels, in the presence of the bishop of the city, Cardinal Joseph de Kesel. Also elected were four vice presidents: Msgr. Noel Treanor (Ireland), Msgr. Mariano Crociata (Italy), Msgr. Jan Vokal (Czech Republic) and Msgr. Franz-Josef Overbeck (Germany). The plenary assembly then named Msgr. Rimantas Norvila (Lithuania) president of the Commission for External Relations of the European Union, mgr. Antoine Herouard (France) president of the Commission on Social Affairs and Msgr. Theodorus Cornelis Maria Hoogenboom (Netherlands) president of the Legal Affairs Committee.