In the light of Parliament's voting the Illegal Migration Bill into law, and the requests made by bishops and leaders of Church Agencies for distribution of news and opinions, we will be grateful if the update below is shared in parish newsletters, on parish websites, on notice boards and through other parish communications.
Caritas Southwark - Migrants and Refugees Theme - calling for help from Parishes
Love the Stranger and the Illegal Migration Act passed by Parliament
In response to the passing of the Illegal Migration Bill in Parliament and its subsequent Royal Assent, Bishop Paul McAleenan, the lead Bishop for Migrants and Refugees in England and Wales [pictured in Dover], has stated ‘This legislation stands at odds with the teaching of the church on welcoming, protecting, promoting and integrating refugees’. The "Love the Stranger" publication from the Department for International Affairs of Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales provides a Catholic response to the challenge of welcoming migrants and refugees. You can find the document in full at: https://www.cbcew.org.uk/love-the-stranger/.
A related "Call to Action" document with suggestions of how the Catholic community might respond practically to the plight of refugees and migrants has come from the national Caritas Social Action Network (CSAN), and can be found through this link
Bishop Terence Drainey, Chair of CSAN, reminds us that in March he urged the Catholic community to speak out against this 'cruel and unworkable Bill which is an affront to human dignity and a breach of our responsibilities to the global common good and our obligations under international law.' Upon the passing of the Act, he has said, “we call upon the Catholic community to speak out against this cruel Bill and write to their MPs urging them to work to expand safe routes for those seeking asylum.”
You can find out how to contact MPs here: https://members.parliament.uk/FindYourMP
Please send them letters or emails (including your address to show that you are a constituent) and express your disappointment and your opposition to the polices of the Illegal Migration Act, which is at odds with the teaching of the Catholic Church. Urge them to work for more humane and workable policy solutions which respect the dignity and rights of migrating people.
As a CSAN member, Caritas Southwark encourages diocesan study and action in response to these calls. These remind us that the people who take perilous journeys to arrive upon the shore of our diocese are made in God's image and likeness and share the same hopes and needs as the established residents.
You will find support for your efforts in prayers collected by the local group "Seeking Sanctuary", at https://prayersformigrants.weebly.com/
Our Bishops' urgings are reported approvingly in the July 20 edition of "Vatican News" (https://www.vaticannews.va)
Likewise, Pope Francis has consistently specified that, 'Every migrant has a name, a face and a story'.