Who: Cardinal Archbishop Vincent Nichols, The Right Rev Alan Smith, Bishop of St Albans
“The most senior Catholic cleric in England and Wales has given the strongest possible indication that he backs remaining in the EU, saying that a vote to leave would result in Britain “facing more complex problems with greater difficulty in finding our role in response to them.”
Speaking on the day of the launch of the official campaign for the referendum on 23 June, Cardinal Vincent Nichols said: “There’s a long tradition in Christianity and in Catholicism in particular of believing in holding things together. There’s a strong tradition in the Catholic vision of life that to start down the path of division almost inevitably leads to further division… So the Catholic instinct is to look for the whole – that’s exactly what the word means. And therefore the Catholic stance towards an effort such as the EU is largely supportive.”
Asked how he would feel if Britain voted to leave the EU, Cardinal Nicols said: “If the vote was to leave Europe, I think we would be facing more complex problems with greater difficulty in finding our role in response to them, than we would by playing an active and vigorous part with partners, with the EU.” (1)
The Right Rev Alan Smith, bishop of St Albans, has made an implicitly supportive argument for the EU and its enduring role in preventing conflict.
Smith observed that the EU was born out of a search for peace after the two world wars and that if Britain voted to leave it must consider how the EU’s legacy of uniting nations could be safeguarded, to prevent the continent falling into violence and genocide. (2)
THE CASE FOR A #FREEBRITAIN
"We look at our own monarch, herself the Supreme Governor of the English Church, anointed by a bishop, who has taken an oath which promises her service to God. Many monarchs around Europe, Catholic and Protestant alike, do the same. There are few ardently secular states in Europe, many remaining officially neutral to religion while recognising the unique status of faith, particularly the Christian Faith in various bodies, be it in education, legislation, their constitution or their ceremonies.
In contrast, the European Union is an atheistic, materialistic, humanistic system. It seeks happiness not in justice and faith, but in existing for its own sake. Its faith is in its own will and ability, based on a supposed rationality untempered by moral truths. There are many examples of how this steadfast belief in itself; the belief which its followers and leaders have in the Project to create the common good has instead created common misery, or in some cases facilitated great wrongs. This is certainly true in the case of poverty in Southern Europe, the organisation’s approach to the family, and its cavalier approach to preserving Europe’s Christian heritage.
It has sometimes flown in the very face of reason, like the many other failed forms of secular religion, such as Soviet Communism, which we have seen throughout history. As such, it will always fall victim to the same corruptions, idolatries, errors and false absolutes as those previous systems.
People of Faith are under no obligation to support it; to suggest otherwise is a gross deceit. I believe a new dynamic form of cooperation between countries would be in the interests of the Faithful; the best way for British People of Faith in their number to achieve this would be to vote to leave on 23rd June in the hope that other countries will follow."
Steven Woolfe MEP