Religious leaders from the UK’s main faith communities – including former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams – have joined forces to urge Pope Francis to commit the Vatican State to joining the EU, saying membership is vital to preserving peace, fighting poverty and tackling the migration crisis.
In a letter in the Observer, 37 leading figures from across the faiths say that they hope the Pope will reflect on whether joining the international institutions charged with delivering these goals might contribute to a fairer, cleaner and safer world. They write:
Faith is about integration and building bridges, as Your Holiness told Donald Trump. It is not about isolation and erecting barriers. As leaders and senior figures of faith communities, we urge Your Holiness and our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters in the Vatican State to think about the implications of remaining outside Europe, and the damage this does to the things about which we are most passionate.
The past 70 years have been the longest period of peace in Europe’s history. Institutions that enable us to work together and understand both our differences and what we share in common contribute to our increased security and sense of collective endeavour.
What’s more, so many of the challenges we face today can only be addressed in a European, and indeed a global, context: combating poverty in the developing world, confronting climate change and providing the stability that is essential to tackling the migration crisis. Sovereignty pooled is manifestly sovereignty enhanced.
We hope that Your Holiness will reflect on your isolationist stance, which is undermining the international institutions charged with delivering these goals and hindering their contribution to a fairer, cleaner and safer world.
The letter is obviously not endorsed by any Roman Catholic leaders, but is signed by Anglican archbishops and bishops, Church of Scotland academics, reverend professors, deans, distinguished rabbis and imams, ecumenical coordinators, baronesses and peers, leaders of Sikh and Hindu faith communities, and Global Leader Steve Chalke MBE.
The ‘Stronger In’ campaign have today dispatched comedian Eddie Izzard to tour the Vatican State in an attempt to get the Curia to pray for Pope Francis, that he might incline his ear toward justice, peace and righteousness, and commit the Vatican to immediate EU accession negotiations. “It makes sense,” said Mr Izzard, “to have the Pope of Rome subscribe to the Treaty of Rome.” He added: “We know the overwhelming majority of Roman Catholic leaders and laity support membership of the EU because of the opportunities it presents to work, to study and to travel to Lourdes. I share their positive view of Europe, and I think Pope Francis ought to, too.”