Page 1, 20th October 1972

20th October 1972
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Page 1, 20th October 1972 — Bishop's plea to Mr. Heath over Europe

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Bishop's plea to Mr. Heath over Europe

BY A STAFF REPORTER BISHOP GERALD MAHON, an Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster, has written a letter to the Prime Minister, Mr. Edward Heath. He has done so as President df the Commission for International Justice and Peace.

In his letter the Bishop submits certain proposals approved by the national delegates at the second meeting of the European Justice and Peace Commission. The meeting was held in Ostend from October 11-14.

The European Conference brought together representatives of eleven national Catholic Commissions for Justice and Peace of European countries. Such Commissions have been established by the national Catholic Hierarchies to pursue. through various means, questions of world development, justice and peace.

At the Ostend conference, it was decided that the resolutions concerning this week's E.E.C. Summit Meeting should be submitted by the delegates of each national Commission to their respective Head of State or Government.

The British delegation included the Chairman Secretary of the Commission, Mr. Erik Pearse, representatives. and the General and three other

It was submitted that problems of world justice concerned relationships between countries at different levels of development. They also concerned those existing between rich and poor countries and within the European Community itself. The promotion of justice at the world level and within the Community is therefore one and the same thing.

European development policy had thus to be conceived and implemented in close coordination with the other Cornmunity policies, both internal and external. This should require reforms, particularly in the Community's agricultural. regional and social policies.

Such reforms, however, would not be effective unless there was a firm decision to go beyond the sole criteria of economic interest and the maximisation of profits for individuals, economic groups or nations, by taking into account human factors of justice and development for all.

This required deep structural changes in the economic and political spheres, both at the national and international levels. The resolutions which created greatest stir at the conference itself were those which concerned Portugal in its overseas provinces in Africa. These resolutions came within the particular province, as far as British delegates were concerned, of Mr. Jonathan Power, Chairman of the Peace Working Party in the Com FROM FRONT PAGE

mission for England and Wales.

"[he conference called upon the Holy See to act with all the pOwer at its disposal (a) to obtain the recognition of selfdetermination for the people of Mozambique, Angola and Guinea and (b) to revise the existing Concordat and missionary agreement through

negotiations with the Portuguese government since the contents of these documents imply the acceptance by the Church of an unjust system.

The conference also called upon the national Cornmissions in Europe (a) to ap proach their respective governments to advocate a policy of legal aid and social assistance for the Portuguese deserters who have no right to conscientious objection within their own country: (b) to promote the idea of a boycott of Angolan coffee; and (c) to ask their respective governments to refuse to piovide the co-operation of their country's business firms and capital in the construction of the Cahora Besse Dam in Mozambique and the Cunene Darn in Angola.

The conference re-elected a Continuation Committee to represent the minds of the National Commissions to the E.E.C. Commission so that the Catholic voice of the different members of the E.E.C. is heard at the Community level; and to prepare the Third European Conference, to lake place in Spring 1975.

The British Commission have been invited by the Conference to be the hosts.

The Commissions from England and Wales, and from Ireland, will be represented on the Committee by Mr. Erik Pearse, the Secretary of the Commission for England and Wales.

The conference agreed in principle to set up an interdisciplinary theological working group to promote theological enquiry to clarify the specific role of Justice and Peace Commissions in Europe.

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