In honour of Hate Crime Awareness week, Bishop Paul McAleenan has called on people in the UK to answer Pope Francis’s latest encyclical, Fratelli tutti, to oppose racism in all its forms.
Bishop McAleenan, auxiliary of Westminster, has also been outspoken in his support for volunteers and charity workers aiding refugees coming to British shores. During his visit to Dover last month, he prayed that “policy-makers and opinion-formers” may “provide a system whereby no-one needs to risk their lives in the quest for safety and freedom.”
Bishop McAleenan, the lead Catholic Bishop for Migrants and Refugees, spoke on behalf of the Bishops’ Conference:
“Pope Francis puts before us a radical vision of human togetherness, addressing fundamental issued such as migration, peace building and the economy.
“One of the challenges he mentions is the need to tackle racism, warning that: a readiness to discard others finds expression in vicious attitudes that we thought long past, such as racism, which retreats underground only to keep re-emerging. Instances of racism continue to shame us, for they show that our supposed social progress is not as real or definitive as we think.
“Our own society is not immune from this pattern of behaviour. In recent years we have witnessed a disturbing resurgence of hate speech and hate crimes,” he said. “These take many different forms including Islamophobia, Antisemitism, hatred towards migrants and refugees, and hostility against Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities. During this Hate Crime Awareness Week we should recommit ourselves to actively opposing racism in all its manifestations.
“In the words of Pope Francis: ‘Let us dream, then, as a single human family, as fellow travellers sharing the same flesh, as children of the same earth which is our common home, each of us bringing the richness of his or her beliefs and convictions, each of us with his or her own voice, brothers and sisters all.“