Cardinal Vincent Nichols has said that any upsurge in racism following Britain’s vote to leave the European Union must be stamped out.
Following last Thursday’s referendum result, a number of incidents have been reported across the country, including offensive graffiti scrawled on a Polish cultural centre in London and the holding up of banner by National Front supporters in Newcastle calling for the repatriation of immigrants.
Cardinal Nichols, who is president of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, released a statement on Tuesday in which he said “we all need to reflect on what has been a tumultuous few days and ponder what is needed now.”
“Firstly, I am very conscious of the Polish community in Hammersmith or of people confronted by banners in Newcastle,” he said.
“This upsurge of racism, of hatred towards others is something we must not tolerate. We have to say this is simply not acceptable in a humane society and it should never be provoked or promoted.”
The Archbishop of Westminster added that “racism and hatred must never be tolerated, but there is no need for fear.”
“We always place our lives at the foot of the cross; in the hands of Jesus. We have an important job in defining the horizon against which we live and that is where the profound values we seek to embody really come to life: when we see ourselves living in the presence of God, living with that transcendent horizon,” he said.
The cardinal also said that “every leader needs to reflect on our failure to listen and to give voice to those who feel voiceless”, adding that “our purpose must be our common good, the good of all with no one excluded.”
He said that “the great challenge for those leading the nation now is to speak for everyone”.
“If a victory in a referendum remains a point of division, then we become weaker and weaker as a nation and not play a part in the international scene tackling the world’s problems, which are great and challenging,” Cardinal Nichols said.
by Staff Reporter