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Ukip MEP clashes with European bishops after report on ‘belligerent’ politics

Steven Woolfe said that the party stood for Judeo-Christian values and patriotism (PA)

A Catholic Ukip MEP has criticised a European bishops’ commission for being an EU “fan club” after it denounced “nationalist” parties in a report.

Earlier this week the Conference of European Justice and Peace Commissions (COMECE) issued a statement calling it a “matter of serious concern” that parties “advocating the supremacy of narrow national interests over universal human values, international commitments and obligations” were gaining, a reference to groups such as the United Kingdom Independence Party, which finished as the largest party in last year’s euro elections.

But Steven Woolfe, a Ukip MEP for the north-west of England, said: “Comece is a federalist fan club based in Brussels which endorses every EU treaty and power. It has done nothing over many years to stand up for Christian beliefs and values. Instead it acts as a cheerleader for the secularising EU.”

He continued: “Ukip is rising in the polls among churchgoers because it has defended religious freedom, the institution of marriage, and our Judeo-Christian culture as the basis for a shared civic space. I am a Catholic and I stand for faith, family, flag and fairness.

“My fellow Catholics can see what Ukip stands for, and vote accordingly. St Thomas Aquinas teaches that patriotism, ie love of your country and its people, is a Christian virtue. Perhaps COMECE needs to study up a bit.”

In its report, called The Nationalism of Exclusion, COMECE stated that certain parties are pushing countries in a nationalist direction. It said: “Often racist or xenophobic, they inevitably bring to mind the belligerent and ultranationalist politics which preceded both world wars. By suggesting the nation, nationality and their underlying founding myths are an appropriate response to our contemporary challenges, those parties and their advocates refer to a paradigm of exclusion that will make matters worse.

“The Christian vision of universal justice and peace does not allow for any kind of chauvinism – it calls for solidarity and respect for all,” the conference said in a February 18 report.