Religion and, in particular, Christianity played a significant role in the establishment and development of the European project.
However, although today the majority of European citizens still describes itself as Christian, only 51% of them believe that God actually exists (Eurobarometer 341, Page 204). Religion and faith are losing ground in Europe: Younger generations believe less and less in God, especially in cities, and churches regret poorer attendance at their services.
Nevertheless, while facing the challenges hitting our continent and unity, European policy makers constantly refer to the Christian roots of European values. In this regard, discussions about the importance of freedom of religion and of Christian principles are held quite frequently and put the question of faith back into the spotlight. But what will be the role of the churches in the years to come, and particularly of the Catholic Church, which is still the biggest religious community in Europe? And how can religious institutions help to solve the crises in Europe?
To debate this topic, the European Parliamentary Association has invited Mgr. Jean-Pierre Grallet, who is archbishop of Strasbourg since 2007, to its traditional breakfast meeting on 16 February 2017 from 8 am to 9 am.
The bishop was ordained as priest in 1969, after studying Catholic theology and history in Nancy. Being a former religion teacher and student priest in Strasbourg and Metz, Mgr. Grallet has a lot of experience with the relevance of faith in life of Europeans, especially of young people. Since he is also the French member of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community (COMECE), the archbishop surely will lift the debate onto the European level, too.
The COMECE is a Commission made up of Catholic Bishops who are delegated from the national Bishops’ conferences of the 28 countries of the European Union. The aim of the Commission is to monitor the policy making of the EU and form a dialogue with its institutions to present to the politicians and the public the current concerns and opinions of the Catholic Church.
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