Ahead of the upcoming Brexit Referendum on 23 June, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales are urging the faithful to think of the common good when voting on whether or not the UK should withdraw from the European Union.
In a statement following their April Plenary Assembly, the Bishops’ Conference said they “recognise the historic nature of this referendum and its implications for future generations. The outcome will have consequences for the future not only of the United Kingdom, but for Europe and for the world.”
The bishops highlighted three things that are essential for voters ahead of the referendum:
- to pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit;
- that each person informs themselves of the arguments on both sides of the debate;
- that each person exercises his/her vote with a view to the common good of all.
The bishops reminded voters that the referendum is about “much more than economics”
Drawing reference to Pope Francis’ address to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, November 2014, the bishops said, “Our focus needs to be above all on the human person. We need to build a Europe ‘which revolves not around the economy but around the sacredness of the human person, around inalienable values (par 37)’.
“As Pope Francis reminds us, we need continually to ask ourselves: who is my neighbour? In response to grave challenges, we are called to be generous and welcoming to all others, especially the most vulnerable.
“This referendum is an opportunity to reflect on those values we cherish as a nation and as Catholics. High among these values are mutual respect and civility, vital in this national conversation about the very future of our nation within the world.”