Rt Rev Brian McGee, Bishop of Argyll and the Isles
REFERENDUM SPECIAL: Beginning today, The Oban Times brings views from community leaders
REFLECTING on the forthcoming vote, we should recognise the historic nature of this referendum and its implications for future generations. The outcome will have consequences for the future of our country, Europe and for the world.
I believe three things are essential as we prepare to make this historic decision:
1. that we pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit;
2. that we all inform ourselves of the arguments on both sides of the debate;
3. that we each exercise our vote with a view to the common good of all.
Our focus needs to be, above all, on the human person. We need to build a Europe “which revolves not around the economy but around the sacredness of the human person, around inalienable values”, in the Pope’s words. We all have a responsibility to keep the dignity of the human person at the forefront of the debate.
We must ask ourselves, in the face of every issue, what will best serve the dignity of all people both within Europe and beyond.
This referendum, therefore, is about much more than economics and personalities. We should never forget the profoundly religious roots of European nations; that Europe has a 2000-year- old Christian culture that has shaped the continent and is a dynamic spiritual, moral and intellectual resource as we address the future.
As Pope Francis reminds us, we need continually to ask ourselves: who is my neighbour? In response to grave challenges, we are called to be generous and welcoming to all others, especially the most vulnerable.
Each person will have their own views about the best political framework in which to realise these ideals. There is no definitive framework which is more Catholic or Christian than any other.
This referendum is an opportunity to reflect on those values we cherish as a nation. High among these values are mutual respect and civility, vital in this national conversation about the very future of our nation within the world.
Before voting, we might ask ourselves the following question: How, in the light of the Gospel, can my vote best serve the common good?
As you prepare to vote, you may wish to offer this prayer: “Lord, grant us wisdom that we may walk with integrity, guarding the path of justice, and knowing the protection of your loving care for all.”