Today´s British referendum will be best quickly done and dusted, one way or the other. Election campaigns tend to stoop occasionally to the gutter but it is not encouraged and usually quickly decried. I think the British like to the think of themselves as moderate, balanced and well-mannered when it comes to politics. Alas, the referendum has exposed deep veins of nastiness in British society.
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For 1,500 years the inheritors of the Roman Empire have been fighting with one another and in so doing have built a shared history and a shared political, intellectual and artistic culture that is unique for its variety in continuity. After 1945, they gradually resolved that what they shared was best perpetuated not by war but by peaceful economic and cultural interchange.
The Catholic Church values stability because it allows families and communities to grow. It is not just an economic good but one that strengthens society and alleviates suffering. When our society is riven by division based on ethnicity, wealth or political outlook – as it was in the 1930s and during the industrial unrest of the 1970s – it is the poor and vulnerable who suffer most. That is why unity and cooperation is so prized.
As the referendum campaign enters its closing weeks, one issue rarely being discussed is that of the European Union as an alternative to the concept of the nation state. But in years to come could the EU act as a counterbalance to the commercial clout of global business?
As Europe faces an unprecedented influx of immigrants and refugees while struggling to counter continued economic woes, Pope Francis urged the continent to step up to its responsibilities with renewed hope, not cower behind walls and treaties.
There is no sign that the British Government is softening its attitude towards refugees fleeing conflict and persecution in the Middle East. It has repeatedly been criticised for tardiness and lack of generosity by religious leaders of all denominations, but it still seems to be doing as little as possible.
Europhobia is at the heart of the campaign for the UK to leave the great European Union experiment. Fantasies of freedom: EU referendum highlights English fear of being small part of something bigger. Those campaigning for Britain to leave the EU emphasise the loss of sovereignty that membership entails. But the fear of being part of a larger entity is a very English complaint.
Today the Bishops' Conference released a statement on the EU referendum in which they urged Catholics to pray before voting. Cardinal Vincent Nichols today warned that it would be harder for the UK to face socio-economic problems if it left the European Union.
Pakistan is once again in the news over its attack on religious minorities. A terrorist attack targeting Christians killed more than 70 people in Lahore as Pakistani Christian families were celebrating Easter in a public park. This is not the first time that Christians in the Islamic country have been targeted and observers say that as things stand this won't be the last time.
The Pope spoke to members of the diplomatic corps in the Vatican's Apostolic Palace: I offer you a cordial welcome to this annual gathering. It allows me to offer you my best wishes for the New Year and to reflect with you on the state of our world, so loved and blessed by God, and yet fraught with so many ills.
United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon has acknowledged the contribution of faiths to last weekend’s accord between 195 countries to stem carbon emissions and set the world on a more sustainable environmental path. He included “faith leaders” in his list of civil society climate campaigners who have “come together under one banner and brought forth this moment of hope”.
Cardinal Peter K A Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Rome, (who is now at the Paris Climate talks) gave the Pope Paul VI CAFOD Memorial Lecture, on Friday, 4 December, entitled: 'Care for all Creation: a door to our common home.'
Two ways to solve refugee crisis: welcome them in, and change the negative attitude in Europe. The so-called crisis of the refugees is in fact “the crisis of the European countries, because we are not prepared to welcome these people”, says Fr. Jean-Marie Carrière SJ, the new regional director of the Jesuit Refugee Service Europe.
Archbishop BLASE Cupich of Chicago has called Laudato si’ “a watershed moment for the Church, for humanity, and for the planet”. Pope Francis makes a powerful argument that concern for the environment is core to Catholic theology and activity. He presents a challenge to parishes in saying that he would like us to enter into dialogue with all people about caring for our common home.
After decades of world leaders trying to set global goals to address climate change and extreme poverty, city mayors gathered at the Vatican to pledge they will take real action and lead the fight on their streets. Pope Francis told the mayors that they were important because they were at the "grass roots" and could make concrete changes and put pressure on leaders above them.
The Pope’s document published this week is not just for the benefit of the faithful, but has been deliberately timed to influence decision-makers at a trio of key United Nations summits this year culminating in the climate-change conference in Paris in December. For the United Nations, 2015 is a key year.
Pope Francis is not the first pope to address environmental issues but he is the first to devote an encyclical to them. Tackling climate change is not only an issue of justice and human survival, but an act of faith in God’s creation of the world. Laudato Si is the most eagerly awaited papal encyclical for decades.
Britain’s strategic relationship with Turkey has been more important than telling the truth. If Armenians are to find closure, we must recognise their suffering, In the early fourth century, the Armenians were the first people to adopt Christianity as their official religion. In 1914 there were 2 million Armenian Christians living in Turkey. By 1922, there were only 400,000 left.
Right now I feel ashamed to be English. Ashamed to belong to a country that has clearly identified itself as insular, self-absorbed and apparently caring so little for the most vulnerable people among us. Why did a million people visiting food banks make such a minimal difference? Did we just vote for our own narrow concerns and sod the rest?