Patrick H. Daly

This article traces the history of the Church’s engagement with the European project, and makes pastoral suggestions as to how the Catholic Church in the UK might approach the EU into the future. Patrick H. Daly was General Secretary of COMECE, the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community, from 2013-2016.

Within hours of the close of the polls on 23 June 2016, not only was the overall result of the referendum on continued EU membership clear but it was also evident which parts of the UK and which regions of England opted for Brexit. Furthermore, it was quickly established that the over-fifties had voted to leave the EU, the younger voters, including those casting a vote for the first time, had opted to stay. The religious allegiance of voters could not be established so we cannot say, should the matter be of interest or concern to us, what proportion of Catholics opted for Brexit.

A number of the MPs with the longest track record of Euroscepticism are Catholic. Bill Cash, MP for Stone, and Iain Duncan Smith, MP for Chingford and Woodford Green, spring immediately to mind. One of the most vocal and articulate Brexiteers in the European Parliament, Daniel Hannan, is Catholic, as are a disproportionate number of UKIP’s MEPs, including the party’s leader, Paul Nuttall.

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