Migrants and refugees are human beings not just statistics, says Bishop as Bishops’ Conference releases new publication. In 2023, people making dangerous journeys across the Channel to reach the UK are called by various names: ‘refugees’, ‘asylum seekers’, ‘migrants’, and often by more derogatory terms.
Love the Stranger is a new publication by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales’ Department for International Affairs that articulates our Christian duty to look beyond such labels and see the person who has left their homeland in search of a better life.
The document offers 24 guiding principles and has been endorsed by the Holy See, COMECE, CAFOD, CSAN and Caritas Social Action Network members.
Bishop Paul McAleenan, Lead Bishop for Migrants and Refugees for the Bishops’ Conference, emphasises the need to uphold their innate human dignity: “Our starting point as a society must be to recognise migrants and refugees as people. We need to understand their stories, their reasons for leaving their homelands and hopes for building a future here. “We should never view people arriving from elsewhere as a political problem to be solved, but rather as brothers and sisters who we have a responsibility towards, and who greatly enrich our communities. “People are driven to leave their countries, sometimes making dangerous journeys or risking exploitation, because of conflict, poverty, oppression, or lack of opportunities. Looking beyond our own borders, we have a duty to help people flourish in their homelands, as well as welcoming those who leave in search of a better life.“
Read full article and download the document on our website
We call on the Catholic community to write to their MPs, asking them to:
– Protect rather than punish refugees by defending their fundamental right to seek asylum.
– Stand up for the UN Refugee Convention and this country’s proud history as a founding signatory.
– Ensure the government provides alternatives to dangerous journeys, including safe routes.
– Insist on an effective asylum system which is just and compassionate, gives people a fair hearing and reduces the backlog in a fair manner.
You can find out who your MP is here members.parliament.uk and write or email them. A template letter can be download on our website