Towards a Vision of Europe - Dialogue and participation
59. Our hope for healing is strongly reinforced by the current developments
in a number of countries in Europe towards more scope for dialogue in foreign
affairs and domestically through a process of reform and democratisation
of society. In some countries what is called a "civil society" is emerging:
groups, non-governmental organisations and initiatives which are independent
from the state. People are becoming increasingly aware of their rights,
their role and their strength within their society. They want to participate
actively in shaping their future. This gives a new dimension to detente.
The CSCE Vienna Concluding Document (1989) could also be of importance
for this process, because of its clear statements on religious freedom,
human rights, national minorities and human contacts.
60. These steps toward dialogue and communication, both within and between
countries, are also an important challenge for the churches to take part in
this process. The churches should be places of openness and dialogue between
those who disagree but seek the truth. In times of polarization and tension,
the churches have a responsibility to facilitate dialogue between those who
would otherwise find it difficult to talk with each other. This includes people
of other world views and belief. This dialogue should also occur across the
divide in Europe. In this way, we can assist in the process in which borders
can gradually lose their separating character.
61. We strongly affirm the importance of non-violent, political means as the
appropriate way of seeking to bring about change in Europe. There are no situations
in our countries or on our continent in which violence is required or justified.