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English archbishop raps government scare tactics in arguments against 'Brexit'

May 23, 2016

Archbishop Peter Smith of Southwark, England, has criticized government officials for making "ludicrous" claims in their attempts to defeat a campaign to pull out of the European Union.

Archbishop Smith, who is the vice-president of the bishops' conference of England and Wales, said that he has not decided how he himself will vote on the "Brexit" question, but said that the government was resorting to "scare" tactics in the lead-up to the June referendum. In particular he expressed severe skepticism about dire economic implications forecast by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Orsborne. 

Archbishop Smith said that he could understand public dissatisfaction with the European Union, because it "has become extremely bureaucratic." The loss of national sovereignty was "hard to swallow," he said, and the adoption of a single currency (which Britain declined to follow) had exacerbated economic difficulties in Europe's poorer countries.

The English bishops have not taken an official public stand on the "Brexit" campaign. But Archbishop Smith's statement contrasts sharply with previous stands taken by Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster, who spoke clearly against withdrawal from the European Union. 


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  • Posted by: geoffreysmith1 - May. 24, 2016 7:58 AM ET USA

    A nation that can blithely ignore the killing of millions of its future citizens before they are born is not a nation that will prosper, regardless of any decision to leave or remain in the European Union. Cardinal Nichols is a supporter of our pro-EU government, and consequently he approves the government's policy, regardless of any spiritual consequences the referendum result may bring.