Archbishop of Canterbury’s astonishing EU intervention

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Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby

Unafraid of using his position to make highly charged political statements, the Archbishop of Canterbury has waded in to the debate over the European Union.

Justin Welby described the EU as “the greatest dream realised for human beings since the fall of the Western
Roman Empire.

“It has brought peace, prosperity, compassion for the poor and weak, purpose for the aspirational and hope for all its people.”

His words, however, have provoked indignation among from supporters of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union following the 2016 referendum.

Mr Welby, who has spent time in Canterbury since overseeing last month’s Royal Wedding, made the remarks at a speech he delivered in Serbia.

Mr Welby queuing for fish and chips near the Cathedral

He said: “Europe is not in danger of falling. And there is no sense in which I suggest that Brexit or other crises currently around will derail the European Union or bring about the downfall of Europe.”

Placing Christianity firmly at the centre of the European project, he added: “Populist calls to preserve our way of life against the other, to put up walls and barriers, to smother dissent and disagreement, to ignore international obligations recognised as morally binding since Jesus spoke of the Good Samaritan, all these will be deeply challenged and will be hostile to a church that is truly itself hospitable.”

David Jones, a former minister in the Department for Exiting the EU, is surprised by the Archbishop’s words.

“The European Union is not democratic – it is the world’s greatest bureaucracy, it is governed by unelected commissioners,” Mr Jones said.

“If the Archbishop of Canterbury thinks that this is utopia then he has a very different view of most Britons.

“It is an indication of the way the Anglican church is out of touch with the people of this country.”

5 COMMENTS

  1. Why thank you Archbishop Welby, for your divine intercession on behalf of all of us poor, weak mortals. Can a Protestant Archbishop pontificate? It would appear so! What our “oh, so right on” opinionated Archbish thinks about the EU is about as relevant as my spiritual thoughts and temporal insights on the Spanish/Catalonian question, or who should really be running Canada. Just for the record, I voted to remain in the European Union but like most, or at least many Brits, who voted the same way, this was not out of any great love for the EU or some blind, fervent belief in the way it gets things done but through a feeling that if it could commit to modifying, streamlining and improvement, then it might just be worth staying in.
    Leaving aside who voted which way in 2016 there’s one thing which will probably have most Remainers and Brexiteers joining forces in a rare show of unity:the very unpalatable idea of an unelected Primate thumping his crozier on the national stage and talking at us through his gilded mitre. Justin Welby represents nobody, his virtual boss is imaginary, his office an anachronism and his mandate (what mandate?) is based on unswerving belief in a system which makes the more arcane parts of the EU seem somehow enlightened.
    At best, Justin Welby can look to the 2% (source – Statistics for Mission, 2016) of the UK population which professes to be actively C of E. Given that this % is on the slide, that puts our Old Etonian chum right up there with whoever’s running UKIP these days! The days of priests ascending the pulpit and telling us how to think, act and run our lives have, thankfully, gone. The mediaeval concept that the poor and weak only have to listen up and slavishly do the church’s bidding on earth, in order to achieve entrance to heaven/eternal salvation is and always, was total tosh. Were one to take the church’s credo (or mission statement if you prefer) and convert it into a General Election manifesto, then a) I doubt anyone would be gullible enough to vote for it and b) such mandate as Justin Welby thinks he may have would be seen to evaporate before his very eyes and disappear into a puff of holy smoke.
    No church, religious sect, faith group, or spiritual belief club should presume to enter the field of domestic, or international politics, any more than I should deign to tell such organisations how to pray, organise divine observances, or decorate their places of worship. Archbishop Welby’s comments are unwelcome, ill-judged and disturbingly assumptive. As J Welby Esq, Justin is entitled to his personal opinion but using his unelected office to foist this on the rest of us via the Lambeth Palace Press Office is nothing short of an abuse of power.

    • Rather an aggressive and vitriolic responce to one man’s opinion. You may not like it but he said nothing that appeared to warrant your attack. He is just as entitled to speak out as the rest of us after all. Politics is an integral part of life and that does indeed not preclude faith groups or individuals. He spoke of peace, neighbourly love and responsibility and warned of closing borders and minds!? Your Comments convey a vicious disdain for this man and it would appear the faith he represents. Your words say much about you.

  2. Thank you, Archbishop Welby, for your perceptive statement on the European Union. As you say, it was a firmly Christian initiative. Its genesis was the 1950 Schumann Plan of Robert Schumann, French Foreign Minister and a sincere Catholic. He had been imprisoned by the Nazis, as had Konrad Adenauer, Chancellor of Germany, also a Catholic and a former prisoner of the Nazis. The trust which grew between them enabled them to do the unthinkable – two countries which, five years earlier, were at war, launched the European Coal and Steel Community whereby they shared control of the industries vital to armaments. Out of this has come a partnership between European countries which has brought more peace to the continent than at any time in its recorded history. This deserves recognition, and I am grateful you have done so.

  3. I an not of the Archbishop’s flock, or of any religious organisation, but as a democrat I 100% support the right of the Archbishop to say what on earth he likes. He is a citizen. He is also a member of the House of Lords (I wish we had an elected second chamber, but we are where we are) and therefore votes on and influences the affairs of our sovereign parliament and the future of the country. I want to know what our legislators believe. They work for us, so we have a right to expect them to speak on matters of great import and they have a duty to speak out when they think right. Parliament is the supreme power in the land. It is the guardian of our rights, including the right to free speech, which Archbishop Justin was exercising.

  4. I am a member of the Church of England and I am appalled at Welbys statement on the EU . Given the awful levels of unemployment inflicted on Spain, Italy , Greece and Portugal are the poor aware of EU compassion! And what evidence does he have that the EU is this great dream . He has been described as delusional and who am I to disagree.

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