Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community
The Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community (Latin: Commissio Episcopatuum Communitatis Europaeae; COMECE) is the association of Catholic Church episcopal conferences in member states of the European Union (EU) which officially represents those episcopal conferences at EU institutions.
Commissio Episcopatuum Communitatis Europaeae
|Predecessor||European Catholic Pastoral Information Service|
|Established||3 March 1980|
|Type||Association without lucrative purpose|
|Purpose||Represent episcopal conferences of EU member states at EU institutions|
|Bishops delegated by episcopal conferences of EU member states|
|Archbishop Jean-Claude Hollerich|
COMECE bishops are delegated by Catholic episcopal conferences in EU member states and has a permanent Secretariat in Brussels, Belgium. It was established in 1980 and replaced the European Catholic Pastoral Information Service (SIPECA, 1976–1980). Discussions during the 1970s about creating an episcopal conferences' liaison organization to the European Community led to the decision, on the eve of the 1979 European Parliament election, to establish COMECE.
The objectives of COMECE are to:
- monitor EU "political processes" and "legal developments"
- communicate "opinions and views" about "European integration in the light of" Catholic social teaching
- communicate "concerns and opinions" of bishops about "the construction of a peaceful and prosperous Europe for all" to EU institutions
- offer "the co-operation and the service of the Church" to EU institutions
- respond to "questions and problems" of EU institutions
- maintain "transparent and regular dialogue with the EU Institutions"
- "inform and raise awareness among" episcopal conferences in EU member states and Catholics about topics of "common interest dealt with by the different institutions of the EU"
- assist episcopal conferences in EU member states with understanding "the challenges posed by" European integration
- "foster collegiality" between episcopal conferences in EU member states "in developing specific actions" with respect to European "social and ethical problems"
COMECE's president is currently Jean-Claude Hollerich, archbishop of Luxembourg. It has first Vice-President Bishop Noel Treanor and three other vice-presidents, currently Bishop Mariano Crociata, Bishop Jan Vokál and Bishop Franz-Josef Overbeck. The official who runs the office on a day-to-day basis is the General Secretary, currently the Rev. Dr. Patrick Daly. The General Secretary is appointed for a three-year term renewable term.
Presidents of COMECE
- 1980–1984: Franz Hengsbach, Bishop of Essen
- 1984–1990: Jean Hengen, Archbishop of Luxembourg
- 1990–1993: Charles Amarin Brand, Archbishop of Strasbourg
- 1993–2006: Josef Homeyer, Bishop of Hildesheim
- 2006–2012: Adrianus Herman van Luyn, Bishop of Rotterdam
- 2012–2018: Reinhard Marx, Cardinal Archbishop of Munich and Freising
- 2018: Jean-Claude Hollerich, Archbishop of Luxembourg
General Secretaries of COMECE
- March 1980 – March 1993 : Fr. Paul Huot-Pleuroux
- March 1993 – February 2008 : Fr. Noel Treanor
- March 2008 – November 2012 : Fr. Piotr Mazurkiewicz
- February 2013 – May 2016 : Fr. Patrick Daly
- September 2016 – September 2019 : Fr. Olivier Poquillon
- September 2019 : Fr. Manuel Enrique Barrios Prieto
COMECE and the Jesuit European Social Centre publish a monthly digital newsletter, europeinfos, to make the meaning and purpose of the European project better known to citizens, and especially to the local churches.
- "Secretariat of COMECE (Commission of the Episcopates of the European Community)". ec.europa.eu. European Commission. Joint Transparency Register Secretariat. 12 April 2016. Transparency Register id: 47350036909-69. Archived from the original on 2 May 2016. Retrieved 2 May 2016.
- "Our history". comece.eu. Brussels, BE: Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community. Archived from the original on 3 May 2016. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
- Turner, Frank (2013). "The Roman Catholic Church and the European institutions: dialogue and advocacy at the European Union". In Leuştean, Lucian N. (ed.). Representing religion in the European Union: does God matter?. Routledge studies in religion and politics. London [u.a.]: Routledge. pp. 77, 82–83. ISBN 9780415685047.
- "Who we are". comece.eu. Brussels, BE: Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community. Archived from the original on 1 April 2016. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
- "Our mission". comece.eu. Brussels, BE: Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community. Archived from the original on 4 May 2016. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
- "Revue Europe-Infos". jesuites.com (in French). Jésuites de la Province de France. Archived from the original on 17 June 2013. Retrieved 4 June 2015.