Protestantesimo! Italian TV Job for Bishop Nick and Archdeacon Peter

Brexit attitudes in the Diocese of Leeds have attracted the interest of Italian TV's equivalent of BBC 2.

Bishop Nick and Archdeacon of Pontefract Peter Townley have both given Anglican perspectives on the controversial subject for "Protestantesimo" - a popular religious programme broadcast on Italian national television.

Producer and reporter Paolo Landi asked them about national identities and local attitudes to try and explain to Italians why disadvantaged areas, such as Wakefield, voted in favour of Brexit - despite having always received substantial financial support from the EU?

Paulo explained the background to his trip from Rome to Leeds:

"The Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy (member of the WCC) has produced a program called Protestantesimo since 1976, which is broadcast by Italian national broadcasting company (RAIDUE) on its version of BBC 2.

"This program in particular will focus on the theme of national identity, nationalism, role of faiths is seeking a less divided society.

"We are planning to have contributions also from Hungary and, of course, from Italy."

Speaking at Hollin House, Bishop Nick said there was a wide range or reasons why people had voted Brexit, from nationalistic nostalgia to the urge to rebel against the perceived arrogance of Westminster politicians.

He said that trying to determine "British identity" was similarly complicated, given the individual identities of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Bishop Nick said the Church of England's position in the run-up to Brexit had been to highlight its own newly-published document which stressed the need for close ties with Europe adding: "We now need to strengthen those bonds between ecumenical churches across Europe. They need to be stronger than they ever have been."

Archdeacon Peter met with Paolo the following day and briefed him on Wakefield, which is home to many East European workers and also significant numbers of international asylum seekers, refugees and economic migrants.

Speaking after the filming, Paolo said: "It was all very enlightening and something that Bishop Nick said really interested me, about how a lot of the issue is how people who live on an island have no working knowledge of close relationships with other countries.

"It was also very good to see the roots of things in Wakefield and I hope to come back to do a follow-up in April next year."




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