“Brexit may be considered as a surface manifestation of people’s disillusionment with political institutions, euro-scepticism, social fears and uncertainty about the future” – Bishop Treanor
On Wednesday representatives from the Christian Churches across the island of Ireland met to discuss how to respond to the challenges posed by Brexit. The meeting took place in the Presbyterian Assembly Buildings, Belfast, and was attended by representatives of the Catholic Church, the Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church and Church of Ireland. Following the meeting, a joint statement was released by the leaders of the four main Churches: Archbishop Eamon Martin, Catholic Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, Archbishop Richard Clarke, Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, Rev William Davison, President of the Methodist Church in Ireland, Right Rev Dr Charles McMullen, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, Rev Brian Anderson, President of the Irish Council of Churches.
The Church leaders observed that, “as the final stages of the initial part of the negotiations for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union draw to a close we, as faith leaders here on the island of Ireland, are inspired by the challenge of Jesus to love our neighbour.” They emphasised the immeasurable improvement over the last 30 years in relationships across the island and added, “it is important that we acknowledge the legitimate aspirations of those who voted to leave the European Union and those who voted to remain. In this context, we particularly want to encourage public representatives, and all others who give leadership in our society, to weigh their words carefully, to respect the integrity of those who conscientiously differ from them and to speak with grace.” See full statement on www.catholicbishops.ie
Speaking at the meeting Bishop Noel Treanor, Bishop of Down & Connor, highlighted the irreplaceable contribution of the Christian thinking of the founding political leaders which was rooted in to the making of post-war Europe. Bishop Treanor also outlined certain societal phenomena which have given rise, in recent times, to disillusionment with institutions including political institutions, euro-scepticism, social fears and uncertainty about the future. He noted that Brexit may be considered as a surface manifestation of these phenomena.
Bishop Treanor concluded, “Churches share a responsibility with society to recognise and to promote an appreciation of the public good that is the European project. Churches can help build a grass-roots understanding and appreciation of Europe’s historic, and contemporary, quality as a communitarian method of politics which aims to promote the common good, is inspired by a value system, and which in its primary law provides for and recognises the right of Churches and faith communities to contribute to the elaboration of its policy-making.”
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