“…The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said today: ‘As faith leaders we hold different beliefs on many things, but we are united in our concern for people seeking sanctuary. Britain must have an asylum system based on justice and compassion. We are standing together to call on the Government to honour our obligations to the world's most vulnerable people….’…”
Independent Catholic News, Source: Archbishop of Canterbury, 6 July 2023. See full article at https://www.indcatholicnews.com/news/47527
“The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby delivered the following speech in the House of Lord on 10 May 2023.
“My Lords, we need a Bill to reform migration. We need a Bill to stop the boats. We need a Bill to destroy the evil tribe of traffickers. The tragedy is that without much change this is not that Bill….
“Our interests as a nation are closely linked to our reputation for justice and the rule of law and to our measured language, calm decision, and careful legislation….
“Long term, globally co-ordinated solutions must be part of the way forward. This nation should lead internationally….”
Independent Catholic News, 10 May 2023, Source: Archbishop of Canterbury. See the full article at https://www.indcatholicnews.com/news/47139
“…On March 14, the Department for International Affairs of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, published Love the Stranger: A Catholic Response to Migrants and Refugees…. Caritas East Anglia supports the call of the Catholic Social Action Network (CSAN) to write to their MP and urge them to speak out against this cruel and unworkable Bill….”
Diocese of East Anglia, Keith Morris, 24 Mar 2023. See the full article at https://www.rcdea.org.uk/caritas-east-anglia-challenges-the-illegal-migration-bill/
“Bishop Paul McAleenan, Lead Catholic Bishop for Migrants and Refugees has made the following [comment] on the government's Illegal Migration Bill today:
"’Everyone who makes a dangerous journey across the Channel to build a better life here has a name, a face, and a story. People are driven from their homes by poverty, conflict, persecution, natural disasters, or other factors that prevent their flourishing. Many have links to the UK or family members already living here. Yet, far too often, there are no safe routes open to them.’
"’While we all wish to end dangerous Channel crossings, this new legislation treats migrants and refugees as a problem to be solved rather than brothers and sisters towards whom we have responsibilities. Establishing more safe routes, and genuinely understanding people's individual circumstances are essential to meeting these.’
"’As Christians we call for the human person, made in the image and likeness of God, to be put at the heart of public policy.’"
Independent Catholic News, 9 Mar 2023, Source: Bishops Conference of England & Wales. See the full article at https://www.indcatholicnews.com/news/46710
“Britain is in flux and so is Europe: another new prime minister in the UK - the third in three years - an election 30 months away at most, the effects of Brexit still impacting politically and economically, a major war in Europe with more national boundaries threatened and millions of people already displaced.
“Times are changing faster than governments can handle and certainly faster than the prime ministerial hopefuls appear to have realised. There's rarely been greater need for tolerance, cohesion, stability and inclusive leadership. Yet the country continues to be saddled with a "hostile environment policy" on immigration with grievous effects on many of the estimated six million migrants who are contributing so richly to our social fabric and economy. Scrapping the policy should be one of the new prime minister's top priorities.
“The hostile environment reached a nadir with the so far wholly unsuccessful plan to send some of those seeking asylum to Rwanda. It has been described as ‘appalling’, ‘immoral’ and ‘barbaric’. …
“But trying to bribe our way out of our international obligations by paying one of the world's poorest countries to do our job of processing and looking after asylum seekers, and the callous and scandalous mistreatment of the Windrush generation as well as the subsequent and continuing failure to provide fair, swift compensation - are only two graphic examples of a raft of egregious results of the hostile environment.
“Hostility created by the policy runs deep and affects all key areas of life. The illegality of many Home Office decisions, driven by the policy, is weakening our most precious quality: the rule of law. Compensation for breaches of rights and laws is costing millions of pounds. Making landlords responsible for checking the status of tenants is fostering suspicion and intolerance, not only of migrants but of Britons perceived as looking or speaking ‘like a migrant’.
“The ever-rising cost of already extortionate visa fees for hundreds of thousands of people we have invited to work here causes resentment, poverty and ill-health and alienates a vital part of the nation. Regulations split families; people who have done no wrong except flee for their safety are held behind locked doors and further traumatised….
“The hostile environment policy is expensive, divisive, destructive and counter-productive. For example, the Home Office's now entrenched culture of distrust and obstruction is getting in the way of the government's own policy of admitting a number of refugees from Ukraine. … Hostility does not create confidence, at home or abroad. It makes a mockery of any notion of a 'Global Britain'.
“A new prime minister and a government trying to reset itself in the midst of an alarming cost-of-living crisis needs to set an example by dismantling the hostile environment and taking the right approach that unites everyone living, working and studying here. This will benefit the whole society in the long term, replacing an approach based on short-term political gain through pandering to the far right.”
Independent Catholic News, Source: Migrant Voice, 4 Aug 2022, https://www.indcatholicnews.com/news/45225
“Under [the UK government's Homes for Ukraine], hosts commit to providing a spare room with access to shared facilities for a minimum of six months and will be entitled to compensation of £350 a month as a 'Thank you' payment….”
With Permission, Independent Catholic News, Mariia Pashkova, 11 Feb 23. For the full article, see https://www.indcatholicnews.com/news/46525
“Project Bonhoeffer will be holding a free online conference on Christian responses to the migration crisis, entitled 'Faith and Frontiers' on Saturday 17 September rom 10am to 4pm.
“Speakers will include Bishop Rose Hudson-Wilkin, Bishop of Dover, Dr Ulrich Schmiedel of the University of Edinburgh, an authority on religion and migration, and Rev Dr Keith Clements, a noted Bonhoeffer scholar, who will be joined by people from groups currently working to meet the needs of asylum seekers in Calais, Kent and the north of England.
“The Project, set up in 2011, aims to inform and remind today's Christians - especially the young as well as the not-so-young - of the challenges of discipleship that Dietrich Bonhoeffer addressed in his radical theology and in the Christian witness that led to his execution by the Nazis at the end of the Second World War.
“The project's events seek to enable people to put Christian faith into action in ways that make a positive difference in the world, engaging with the key social and political challenges we face. It encourages and resources theological reflection, conversation and community-building around Bonhoeffer's work and life and its implications for today.
“The goal is not unlike that of the well-worn Pastoral Cycle, providing opportunities for people to think and to act - reflecting on faith … and then doing something about it in the context in which they live and feel called to serve.
“Book at: www.projectbonhoeffer.org.uk/events/ “
Independent Catholic News, Ben Bano, 17 Aug 2022, https://www.indcatholicnews.com/news/45300
“On 1 August, Bishop John Sherrington visited the Syria Summer Camp, an educational, fun and therapeutic event for children from refugee backgrounds hosted by Newman Catholic College and supported by Caritas Westminster. Now in its sixth year, it was initiated in 2016 by Amanda Wooster as a summer activity for refugees who came from places such as Syria and Afghanistan. Bishop John shares his experience of the visit.
“I was warmly welcomed by Inayat and Anisa. Inayat, a young man and student at Newman Catholic College, whose name means 'bounty, kindness, favour', enthusiastically introduced me to other groups of young people at the Syrian Summer Camp. Anisa, an older woman, known as Auntie, whose name means 'pleasant companion' was a quiet and comforting presence with us throughout the day. Sister Silvana from Caritas Westminster, a passionate and dedicated promoter of the summer camp, had organised the visit and accompanied us.
“We first met the young lionesses, younger children, being coached by a QPR woman trainer.… They were enthusiastic about football, if a little shy in our presence. The next group were waiting patiently to travel by train to London Zoo. The boys were keen to see the lions which were their favourite animal ….
“Inayat introduced us to a group of boys who were discussing the meaning of culture. With origins in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and other countries, they talked about whether they had grown up in a city or a rural area, the meaning of flags, sport and the culture they had left behind. They said that London was a safe place for them and that was more important than many other things. Learning English to communicate was at the heart of this activity. Football crossed all boundaries.…
“A further group of teenage boys and girls were exploring the meaning of their names. Each told me their meaning which was beautiful and very moving…. They were painting a symbol of their names to express the meaning. Many included light and sun, though some were much darker. I was asked about the meaning of the white collar in my shirt. I explained that it is a sign of being a bishop or priest.
'What does a ring mean,' I asked? They spoke of marriage and love. I said a bishop's ring is a sign of the love of Christ and his Church. Sr Silvana explained the meaning of her ring of consecration as a woman religious. We then discussed some common elements of Christianity and Islam, pilgrimage, prayer times, almsgiving and charity….
“The final visit was to group of very young children exploring sound and movement with a patient teacher. They created a dance with rhythm and movement which they all thoroughly enjoyed ….
“Hospitality is central to Arabic culture and so we enjoyed the blessings of lunch together. Inayat presented me with his Afghani wristband and spoke of his hopes for … the future. Anisa remained the motherly presence throughout the day.
“Driving home from Harlesden made me think about the journeys they had made to be in a safe place in London….”
Independent Catholic News, Source: Caritas Westminster, 10 Aug 2022, https://www.indcatholicnews.com/news/45259
“The Bishops' Conference of England and Wales held their plenary meeting in Cardiff from 2 - 6 May 2022. The was the first full plenary meeting in Wales since November 2004. At the end of their meeting the Bishops issued statements on migration and on the return to Mass after the pandemic. Other issues discussed were the food crisis and cost of living, the Synodal process, the forthcoming tour of the relics of St Bernadette and the environment. There were also reports on the work of Stella Maris and Missio.
“During an online press conference today, Cardinal Vincent Nichols said: ‘This was the first opportunity we've had in a while to discuss the migrant issue.’ He pointed out that there was a ‘mismatch’ between the generosity shown by the British public in response to the scheme for families to take in Ukrainian refugees - and the slowness with which visa applications are being processed. Afghan refugees are still being kept in hotels, he pointed out. The upcoming Nationalities and Borders Bill could lead to migrants being deported.
“The Cardinal said: ‘We support a concerted effort against human trafficking, but lets not punish their victims... Those seeking refuge in the UK should be provided with safe routes for travelling, have the opportunity to tell their story, be listened to and have their cases assessed justly. We keep in mind that there is no illegal asylum seeker; to claim asylum is a human right.’
“’Those seeking refuge in the UK should be provided with safe routes for travelling, have the opportunity to tell their story, be listened to and have their cases assessed justly. We keep in mind that there is no illegal asylum seeker; to claim asylum is a human right.’
“The Cardinal said Bishop John Arnold, Spokesperson for the Environment for the Bishops' Conference gave reports at each meeting on the progress of the Laudato si' programme. Dioceses are working to lower their carbon footprint. They are developing interdiocesan fuel management for parishes, and particularly focussing schemes linking the Laudato Si platform with RE in schools.
“Read the Bishops' Spring Plenary Resolution statements on the following links:
“Returning to Mass at Pentecost - www.cbcew.org.uk/spring-plenary-2022-resolution-returning-to-mass-at-pentecost/
With permission, ICN, Jo Siedlecka, Source: CBCEW, May 9, 2022.
"...is looking for donations of old mobile phones and technology to provide refugees with the means to stay connected during this difficult time. This technology helps refugees access vital support, legal advice and stay connected with loved ones. If you have an old phone or tablet sitting in a draw, do get in touch with JRS! For more information visit: www.jrsuk.net/news/donate-your-smartphone-and-make-a-difference/ "
(With permission) Diocese of East Anglia, Keith Morris, January 9, 2022
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