Is Brexit the jolt for us to change direction?

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A man carries a European Union flag in London on 24 June, a day after voters in the United Kingdom decided to leave the EU. Photo: Neil Hall, Reuters
A man carries a European Union flag in London on 24 June, a day after voters in the United Kingdom decided to leave the EU. Photo: Neil Hall, Reuters

So, Britain has chosen to cut away from the European Union. News reports speak of chaos to financial markets and share trading with political upheaval unfolding by the hour.

Did the British get it wrong? Well, only time will tell. What is certain is that there is pain involved.

There appear to have been many positive outcomes to the European Union, some of which Australia might well benefit from embracing. These have included the removal of long, often complicated bureaucratic procedures across borders.

On the other hand, another strategic agenda is rising within the EU, one which aims at bringing to birth a new image of man that radically changes the social order as it has previously been known.

Aside from bioethical questions, this new legal and social order involves policies that promote same-sex “marriage”, gender diversity leading to gender mainstreaming, and the challenging of homophobia, all of which are protected under anti-discrimination laws.

The EU, primarily created out of Europe’s desire for peace after World War II, has since morphed into a power system that wishes to establish the new “gender person” as the norm across Europe with the promise of penalties for all those who dare to object.

It is only a decade since St John Paul II wrote in his final book, Memory and Identity, about “the strong pressure from the European Parliament to recognise homosexual unions as an alternative type of family, with the right to adopt children.

“It is legitimate and even necessary,” he said, “to ask whether this is not the work of another ideology of evil, more insidious and hidden, perhaps, intent on exploiting human rights themselves against man and against the family.”

How far Europe has travelled since the European Convention on Human Rights in 1950 also protected marriage between a man and a woman?

A mere 50 years later, the EU adopted a new document entitled the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

In Article 9 of the Charter, which refers to marriage, men and women are no longer mentioned. In Article 21, the theme of “sexual orientation” is introduced but is not clearly defined.

It does, however, leave anyone who dares to question any aspect of sexual orientation open to being penalised through anti-discrimination laws.

I have seriously had difficulty trying to find even one Catholic who does not wholeheartedly agree that, as stated in the Catechism and echoed by Pope Francis, there must be no discrimination against people who are same-sex attracted, but rather that each person must be treated with respect, compassion and sensitivity.

In fact, shouldn’t every person be treated with respect, compassion and sensitivity? Er, yes.

At present, many in the LGBTI community continue to believe there is a wall that exists between them and the Church. Pope Francis encourages us that “bridges are better than walls”, beckoning us to reach out, and in places even to be radical.

Britain has bucked the trend which is likely to lead the nation in one of two directions: to an independence that will bring about a severe breakdown in multilateral relationships, or as a prophetic voice that calls the EU back to its original promise to bring about peace through the unity of differences that exist. This might even lead miraculously to a renewed dignity of men, women and the family.

As the Church, we, too, are called to take stock of where we have built walls in place of bridges.

If we fail to do this, then we might well see a more severe breakdown with our brothers and sisters in the LGBTI community.

Alternatively, a radical desire to reach out and build bridges with all marginalised groups might well be the prophetic gesture that bucks the trend and opens a door to welcome and accept the gifts that God has given to each person.

Yes, there will be pain involved, but without it there is no gospel.

Funnily enough, Britain’s shock decision might well be the jolt that calls all of us to change direction.