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Brexit: Churches Call for Continued Unity with Europe

Vatican Insider - published on 06/05/16

"Faith is about integration and building bridges, not about isolation and erecting barriers"

In a letter published last week, 37 leaders of the Great Britain’s’s main religious communities emphasized the need for Britain to continue its European journey. While the Brexit campaign is in full swing and three weeks before Britain is to vote in the referendum, the Anglican, Catholic and Evangelical Churches as well as leaders of the Muslim and Jewish communities have urged careful reflection and responsibility, in a letter published by The Observer newspaper and reprinted by French newspaper La Vie. The faith leaders claim it is important to continue working towards unity in the “Old Continent”: “Faith is about integration and building bridges, not about isolation and erecting barriers,” the letter says.

The religious leaders say that despite the many difficulties and political failures, the European Union is essential for the preservation of peace. The signatories, including the former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, continue with a call to citizens of the UK: “As leaders and senior figures of faith communities, we urge our co-religionists and others to think about the implications of a Leave vote for the things about which we are most passionate.”

The letter recalls that the past 70 years have marked the longest period of peace in European history. Despite the crisis and downfalls, the institutions have made it possible to work together and understand that differences can be an asset and helping one another contributes to our “increased security and sense of collective endeavor.” The letter also stresses the need for Europe to unite, especially on the values of life, tolerance and the common sharing of values and points of view, in order to prevent economic aspects alone from being the only and very weak element of unity.

“So many of the challenges we face today can only be addressed in a European, and indeed a global, context,” the letter states. “Combating poverty in the developing world, confronting climate change and providing the stability that is essential to tackling the current migration crisis.”

In conclusion, the religious leaders write: “We hope that when voting on 23 June, people will reflect on whether undermining the international institutions charged with delivering these goals could conceivably contribute to a fairer, cleaner and safer world.”

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