The future success of the European Union in the wake of the Brexit vote is dependent on the extent to which its “spiritual roots” are kept alive, Bishop Brendan Leahy has said.
“Europe is about more than simply economics or social policies,” the Bishop of Limerick told The Irish Catholic.
“The European project was about peace and we need to keep the spiritual roots at the heart of Europe alive if we really want to project to go forward,” he said.
Speaking to this newspaper following a gathering in Munich of key figures in political, social and cultural life, Dr Leahy said the Brexit result “was mentioned often” at the meeting.
“It was clear to everyone there that the European project is challenged today but all the more so the participants felt the need to commit themselves to digging deep and becoming people who commit themselves to working on the dream that came to life after the Second World War,” he said.
The ‘Together for Europe’ meeting was attended by Bishop Leahy and Derry’s Bishop Donal McKeown, and brought together members of more than 300 communities and movements from different Churches as well as Church leaders and key figures in political, social and cultural life.
Dr Leahy said it was “great to realise there is a network of communities and movements around Europe who have a spiritual vision of Europe’s identity”.
“I was struck particularly by the youthful atmosphere at the event. There were many young people present and very involved. That gave real hope. The overall atmosphere at the two-day congress and then the open-square public event was one of great unity. Even though we came from different, movements, countries, churches, backgrounds, it seemed everyone was speaking about unity,” he said.