Leaving the EU is the Catholic thing to do
SIR – Fr Ashley Beck (Letter, September 9) remarks on the “negative” approach of Catholic Leave advocates, and the dearth of specifically Catholic arguments for quitting the EU, enabling “many Catholics to ignore the selfishness and outright racism of the campaigners they supported”.
Speaking personally, I have battled against racism since my teenage years and would never support anyone who espoused racist views; like many other Leave supporters, religious and non-religious, it has always deeply concerned me that our historic ties to the Commonwealth, which included heroic sacrifice in two world wars, were jettisoned in order to belong to what has been described as a “rich white man’s club”. Indeed, it was a condition of membership that the Commonwealth be sacrificed, and as a consequence, Commonwealth citizens were definitely put “at the back of the queue” regarding immigration.
Not that the rest of the world has been neglected – Europe has been at the forefront of imposing population control on the poor countries, a campaign in which, to its shame, our own country has joined with gusto. As to bringing peace to Europe, the “open borders” policy has brought fear and insecurity – and, yes, racism – while the continual emphasis on “minority culture”, far from increasing respect for diversity, has ghettoised minorities. Meanwhile, marginalising Christianity has led to a spiritual vacuum filled by consumerism, addictions, disposable relationships, abortion, euthanasia, crime and terrorism.
Very few Leavers expected immigration to cease, and I for one would not want it to; with the world becoming ever more dangerous, increasing numbers now seek a safe refuge, but thanks to uncontrolled immigration, “asylum” has become a dirty word. On this and many other issues, leaving the EU might be the most Catholic thing we could do.
Ann Farmer (Mrs)
Woodford Green, Essex
Bring Calais here
SIR – Mary Kenny (Comment, September 9) rightly raises the plight and dilemmas centring on the camp at Calais. Surely we should be guided by both precedent and compassion.
Six miles from where I live there were two camps for Polish refugees set up in 1939. One group built a 60-acre underground aircraft engine factory and after the war these refugees successfully integrated into our local communities.
It should not be beyond our wit to invite over all the refugees from Calais. We have 20,000 nurse vacancies in Britain and our roads are in a terrible state of repair. When Brexit occurs, the camp should be closed and a strict admission policy for genuine political refugees imposed, to be dealt with by the French authorities and ourselves.
Over the past several decades, with the refusal of the United States, Canada, Russia and Australia, with their vast acres, to elevate thousands of people from Africa and the Middle East living almost in the Stone Age, is it any wonder we are faced with a migration of biblical proportions? We in the West had the technology to turn the Sahara into a fertile plain but this was never implemented – crasser considerations prevailed.
As Catholics, we should also take into account those abroad who took in our Catholic forebears fleeing the iniquitous regimes of Henry, Elizabeth and James.
Stourbridge, West Midlands
One in Wales
SIR – I was fascinated to read Ann Widdecombe’s account of her Sunday experiences on a Christian cruise of the British Isles (Comment, August 19). She writes: “Yet I did wonder last Sunday if God really wants His flock unable to celebrate as He taught us at the Last Supper, simply because we perceive different paths to truth.”
Here in Wales, a new, truly ecumenical closeness is growing between all Christians. At present, it is small and local, though appearing in many different areas, and it is fully obedient and respectful of each other’s traditions and rules. The way in which it is appearing and growing shows the presence and inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
One big focus at present is a cross-bearing pilgrimage from St Davids to Snowdon. It is the vision of an Evangelical Christian who will have carried his 12ft cross to St Davids for an opening commissioning service in St David’s Cathedral on September 13, leaving the following day on his three-week walk to Snowdon.
Details of the route, with dates (and in time, approximate arrival times) can be found on crossingwales.org. Help with carrying the cross would be appreciated, as well as company on the way for however short or long a distance.
Meanwhile, two of us (one Anglican and one Catholic) have a sense that this new but obedient and loving closeness will lead us very simply into a place where one day the barriers disappear and we will be “one body because we all partake of the one bread”.
But this will be God’s doing, not ours. Meanwhile, the Love grows.
Newcastle Emlyn, Carmarthenshire
SIR – Articles written about oneself by third parties, no matter their good intention, often do not convey enough information, with the right emphasis, to represent one’s true views. So Canon Weatherill (Letter, September 9) was relieved to learn, following his letter last week, that in my own writing on my blog I have often made clear that our parish and local Ordinariate members feel grateful for the help we have received from Southwark archdiocese.
We also hope and believe that the diocese is grateful for the dedication and hard work of two priests in the village, who arrived without significant cost in terms of training, pension or health care. Indeed, a common theme on my blog is an earnest desire that this effective partnership will be formalised, as it is working well, and continue in perpetuity.
Ultimately, the Ordinariate was not established to work in competition with the dioceses, which is why it exists as part of the Latin Rite. We must therefore resist the temptation of falling into a “them and us” mentality, which leads to division. Indeed, we should foster collaboration between ourselves for the effective evangelisation of all.
I know most Ordinariate members believe this, and many in the diocese do too. But how do we ensure that those unhelpful to the vision of Benedict XVI also understand it? We are called to be one.
Fr Ed Tomlinson
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