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Catholicism and Global Institutions: It’s Time for a Rethink

Pope Francis greets business leaders and Catholic social teaching experts during an audience at the Vatican May 13. (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano)
Pope Francis greets business leaders and Catholic social teaching experts during an audience at the Vatican May 13. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano)

One of the less-noticed statistics to emerge from one of the most thorough post-Brexit surveys is that nearly sixty percent of self-identified British Christians voted for Brexit. The survey doesn’t distinguish between different Christian confessions. Nor does it ask if such people’s faith played any particular role in their decision or even their lives more generally. Nonetheless the fact that a majority of Christians voted for Britain to leave one of the world’s most prominent supranational entities will surprise some people. Christian statesmen, after all, played a major role in establishing today’s European Union. In the lead-up to the referendum, Britain’s most prominent Christian leaders—Cardinals Cormac Murphy-O’Connor and Vincent Nichols, the Anglican Primate, Justin Welby, and the Church of Scotland’s Moderator, the Rev. Angus Morrison—affirmed that they personally favored “Remain.” Likewise the Holy See’s Secretary for Relations with States, the Liverpool-born Archbishop Paul Gallagher, expressed a preference for Britain remaining in the EU.

Reading Murphy-O’Connor and Nichols’ respective statements, however, neither’s endorsement was especially enthusiastic. Nor did any of the figures mentioned above claim that Christians were somehow obliged to vote “Remain.” The Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales pre-referendum statement on Brexit pointedly refrained from advocating either “Remain” or “Leave.” There’s even some suggestion that particular bishops were personally unconvinced by “Remain” arguments. While the bishops’ statement reminded Catholics that the EU project had been partly conceived to promote peace in a once war-torn continent, it also acknowledged “the justifiable concerns that many people have in relation to the European Union, its institutions and the implications of increasing integration.”

Read more at CatholicWorldReport.com…

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