Greeting to European Women of Faith Network
EWFN launch 13 November 2008, European Parliament, Brussels,
from the European Council of Religious
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,
While 20 years ago many thought that God
was dead and religion was dying, now he – or she –
is back. God, or religion, is disturbing the ordered machinery
of society, laying claims on the attention of politicians and
But those religious traditionalists who rejoice and feel vindicated,
those who believe that because God is back, old religious realities
are back, are gravely mistaken. God is back, religion is back,
but within entirely new realities. The end of a modern secularist
hegemony has not given way to pre-modern religion, but to religion
adjusting to a post-modern reality.
One of the major changes
to religion is the move from majority hegemony to plurality:
In many – not all – European countries, one religious
community has been hegemonic for centuries. One of the biggest
changes that are happening right now is that the majority religions
are adjusting to a situation where they become conscious that
they live side by side with a range of other religions.
It is almost self evident
that this situation calls for – cries out for –
dialogue; methods of engaging each other in respectful ways.
And it calls for action across different religions. Different
faith – common action.
I am here at this joyful occasion as representative for Religions
for Peace – European Council of Religious Leaders. And
it is a joyful event. The launch of European Women of Faith
Network – Women against Poverty states two very important
elements. It states that Women of different faith congregate
and that they wish to join forces in a joint action, against
poverty – different faith – common action.
The European Council of Religious Leaders (ECRL) brings together
senior religious leaders from Europe’s historical religions:
Judaism, Christianity and Islam, with Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs
and Zoroastrians as active participants. One of the co-moderators
is Godfried Cardianal Danneels from Belgium. ECRL is one of
four regional Inter- Religious Councils within the Religions
for Peace network which is the world’s largest and most
representative multi-religious coalition advancing common action
for peace since 1970.
ECRL is proud to count European Women of Faith Network as its
affiliate. We are proud to be partners with this strong and
If one looks at women’s situation in Europe today one
can say that the change and development for women have been
tremendous. I believe that the changes we have seen never could
have taken place without the common commitment of various women
movement and women network. By this I don’t say that European
Women of Faith Network’s agenda is similar with that of
more secular movement but I believe it is a lesson to be learned.
Women have other agendas them men. Women have other tools than
men. Women have other vision than men. Women need to unite in
order to achieve. Perhaps one can add that this is even more
important in religious structures.
Anyway – a warm thank you and a warm congratulation to
you all and good luck. ECRL is looking forward to be working
with you and we at the ECRL secretariat are ready to help out
in any possible way we can.
Thank you all for the
by Ingrid Rosendorf Joys, Senior Information Officer