English Bishops Stand Up For Migrants

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«Migrants are human beings, with a name and a face, and not just statistics or political problems to solve. People who have left their country in search of a better life and who cannot be reduced to the labels with which we are used to defining them as “refugees” or “asylum seekers”. It is important to welcome them and, to those of them who ask for asylum, to give them a real opportunity. The British legislation, at the moment, does it very badly ». With these words, contained in the document “Love the stranger”, just published, the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales intervened on the issue of migration and criticized the latest regulations, introduced by the government of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, which prevent those arriving irregularly in the UK from applying for asylum.

“Love the stranger”, about thirty pages long, was edited by the department for international affairs, led by bishop Declan Lang, and by bishop Paul McAleenan, responsible for the Migrants and Refugees sector. The publication cites the fundamental principles of Catholic social doctrine, various encyclicals and the words of Pope Francis, and offers 24 fundamental principles that should be followed in addressing the issue of migration. The words of the English bishops were welcomed by the Holy See, the Commission of the episcopates of the EU (Comece), Cafod, the charity for aid to the Third World of the English bishops, and the British Caritas.

“This text promotes an authentic culture of encounter at all levels and between all the actors involved,” said Father Fabio Baggio of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. “This awareness-raising document on the Catholic response to the phenomenon of migrants and refugees is a timely reference and guide for our polarized European societies and for harmonious social coexistence. It is not a mere collection of principles of the Social Doctrine of the Church on the matter, but a reflection on how these principles should be applied to the current challenges facing our States and our societies”, commented Father Manuel Barrios Prieto, Comece general secretary. It was then the turn of Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Catholic primate of England and Wales, to underline how the approach of the British government to the problem of migration is not in harmony with the principles of Catholic social doctrine. «Love the Stranger – said Nichols – brings together more than a hundred years of Catholic teaching to guide our response to migration in England and Wales today. While it does not propose detailed solutions to complex problems, it clearly requires procedures that allow for safe and controlled access and a fair hearing for asylum seekers. Current UK provisions are dramatically deficient in both of these requirements.

This article is originally published on msn.com

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