BRUSSELS — The new head of a commission representing Europe’s Catholic bishops pledged to combat populism and promote European unity.

“The European Union is a gain for the common good, and this is why the Church should be in constant dialogue with it,” said Archbishop Jean-Claude Hollerich of Luxembourg, elected president of the Brussels-based Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community March 8.

“But certain citizens have their own preoccupations, and there’s now a growing populism. Combating this needn’t mean adopting populism’s adages, but engaging in a true dialogue of depth and friendship, where everything can be said,” he said.

Archbishop Hollerich said he was ready to work with everyone “dedicated to respecting and protecting human dignity” and believed COMECE, as the commission is known, played a vital role in placing people at the center of EU policies.

German Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich-Freising, outgoing president of the commission, also urged Church leaders to “get the forces of dialogue going,” rather than thinking they had “an answer to everything.”

“We need this more than ever in Europe — not to talk about each other, but with each other,” Marx told Germany’s Catholic news agency, KNA, March 8.

“There are different perceptions now of what the EU is, what a free society and open democracy are — and we have to talk about this,” he said.