8 October 2009
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin to open European conference on Catholic Social Teaching
– Bishop Noel Treanor to lead Irish delegation to Gdansk, Poland
‘Catholic Social Days for Europe’ – an international conference organised by the Commission of Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community (COMECE) – will take place in Gdansk, Poland from 8-11 October 2009. The aim of this conference is to provide an opportunity for Catholic laity to debate major anthropological and socio-ethical challenges at EU level, inspired by the social teaching of the Catholic Church. The theme of the conference, the first of its kind, is: Solidarity – the challenge for Europe.
The objective of the conference is to provide opportunities to debate, discuss, interact and examine concrete examples of solidarity throughout Europe. The date and venue of the conference are significant and symbolic: reminding us of the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939; the end of Communist rule in Central and Eastern Europe in 1989; and the first visit by Pope John Paul II to his homeland in 1979, which gave rise to Solidarnosc, the social movement of millions of Poles which started in Gdansk.
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin, will deliver the opening address on the theme The Concept and Reality of Solidarity in the European Union – a Reflection on the Basis of the Social Teaching of the Church. Other speakers at the conference will include: Mr Hans-Gert Pöttering, former President of the European Parliament; Professor Gosta Esping-Andersen, social scientist; Ms Eveline Herfkens, UN coordinator for the Millennium campaign; Tunne Kelam and Alojs Peterle both Members of the European Parliament; and Professor Dr Irena Lipowicz, Special Ambassador for German-Polish relations.
Delegates from the Bishops’ Conferences will constitute the majority of the expected 600 participants. In addition, European Catholic networks and religious orders will be represented. Half of the participants will be younger than thirty-five years old.
Ireland will be represented at the conference by a delegation led by Bishop Noel Treanor, Bishop of Down and Connor. Bishop Treanor is the delgate of the Irish Bishops’ Conference to COMECE. The themes to be examined during the conference are: (i) The Human Person; (ii) Europe’s Families; (iii) A European Socio-Economic Model; (iv) Europe – founded on solidarity; and, (v) The Global Common Good.
The list of the Irish delegation to this conference is:
Bishop Noel Treanor, Bishop of Down and Connor
Bishop Alan Abernethy, Church of Ireland Bishop of Connor
Ms Sylvia Thompson, Irish Commission for Justice and Social Affairs (ICJSA)
Senator Rónán Mullen
Professor John Monaghan, Vice-President of the St Vincent de Paul
Professor Eamonn Conway, Mary Immaculate College, Limerick
Dr Julia Hynes, Queen’s University Belfast
Ms Orla Mc Carthy, Little Flower Secondary School, Belfast
Ms Kate McQuillan, Church Relations Officer for Trócaire, the overseas development agency of the Catholic Church in Ireland
Ms Nicola Rooney, Research Coordinator ICJSA
Martin Long, Director of Communications 086 172 7678
Brenda Drumm, Communications Officer 087 233 7797