At a moment of deep institutional crisis of the Catholic Church due to the worldwide disclosure of systematic cover up of sexual violence perpetrated in ecclesial settings against minors the European Network Church on the Move met for their Annual Assembly in Mennerode, Netherlands, from 6-9 May 2010.
A declaration was adopted asking civil authorities in Europe and in each European country for accountability on the measures taken to protect minors from sexual violence, including within the Catholic church. This statement constitutes a contribution for the May 12, 2010 meeting of the European Parliamentary Platform on Secularism in Politics (EPPSP), the EN having been appointed a member of the EPPSP Advisory Board. The growing activities of the EN in the Council of Europe and within EU institutions was unanimously approved and encouraged.
A second declaration was adopted in support of the 2009 sentence of the European Court of Human Rights banning Crucifixes from State schools in Italy (Lautsi/Italy case).
Building independent faith communities had been chosen as the theme for this year’s General Assembly Study Day, a timely way of challenging the lay faithful to take ownership of their faith community in a context of growing collapse of the capacity of the hierarchy to meet the spiritual and institutional needs of the Catholic faith community. Discussions on the ongoing project “Council 50”, an effort to take ownership and responsibility for the present and future of the universal Church was another step in this same direction. Two Polish colleagues participated in the Assembly and closer ties to Poland were built.
The EN decided to contribute to support emerging civil societies in Africa through a blog in French, English, Spanish and Portuguese. The idea is to give the highest possible visibility to efforts of committed Africans fighting for more democracy and human rights in their countries.
As it has become a tradition now, the EN will send a delegation to the European Social Forum in Istanbul and to the World Social Forum in Dakar.
Next year’s General Assembly will take place in Barcelona and the EN General Assembly has approved that an effort be made to raise some funds to allow for increasing the number of participants in the Annual Assemblies, for supporting the work at the Council of Europe and the EPPSP, and for supporting the preparatory work for Council 50.