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The mountain was in labor and…

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Jul 05, 2012

…the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE), joining with other religious groups, brought forth a joint Position Paper on Cohesion Policy.

Read the full text if you dare. If you can stay awake, and if you can understand what they’re saying, you might have an opinion on the matter. But probably not.

COMECE exists, as far as I can tell, to release occasional orotund statements along these lines: statements that skirt controversy, express pious hopes about collaborative efforts, and above all emphasize the importance of religious faith in Europe. The statements do not actually express religious faith, except in the vaguest possible terms. Instead COMECE repeats that faith is a good thing, and religious bodies do good things for society, and—did I mention this?—we should all work together. Voltaire would have trouble finding any infame to écrasez in a COMECE position paper.

The overall impression is of a group—the European bishops’ conferences—trying desperately to retain a place in the policy-making circles of the European Union. From time to time COMECE representatives meet with EU officials, who happily confirm that such meetings should continue; it costs them nothing to say as much. But there is no evidence the EU’s political leaders actually pay attention to COMECE’s opinions. Given the group’s lightweight public statements, there’s no reason why they should.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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