Cardinal Vincent Nichols urged people to reject racial hatred during a Mass for migrants at Westminster Cathedral on Sunday.
Following the murder of a Polish man in Harlow, Essex, the cardinal said: “I want to say today, to all who will listen, that there is no place in our society for hatred or violence against people because of their nationality or race. So today we extend our prayers especially to the Polish community, remembering the killing of one of their number in Harlow some weeks ago, and the violent attacks which followed.
“We all reject these actions and these sentiments against whoever they are aimed. They disfigure our society. They have no place here. They have no place in immigrant communities. But I must also say how reassuring it was to hear that in the aftermath of these and similar attacks, there are so many messages of support and actions of solidarity.
Cardinal Nichols went on: “We will not simply condemn, but, more importantly, build anew the welcome and the confidence that we have for and in each other.” The cardinal’s words came after he received a letter from the president of Poland, Andrzej Duda urging him to help protect Poles.
President Duda’s letter, which was also sent to the Archbishop of Canterbury, pleaded for a “constructive effort” from churches and parishes to “alleviate the adverse consequences of intolerance and xenophobia, including what appears to be a clear instance of aversion and animosity towards Poles.”
He said Poles living in Britain worked “strenuously” and were contributing to Britain’s welfare.
Arkadiusz Jozwik, 40, was killed in an attack outside a takeaway last month. Six teenage boys were arrested.
Pope urged to save church on Welsh coast
Catholics in Wales are petitioning the Pope to ask him to stop their local church from closing.
Sant Garmon at Abersoch on Gwynedd’s Llŷn peninsula is among 22 Catholic churches in north Wales which are due to be shut down this year.
Campaigners from Friends of Sant Garmon have said they do not understand the decision to close the church, given that Mass was so popular that sometimes it was standing-room only.
The group said: “No one seems to have the slightest idea why is it being closed. It doesn’t make any sort of sense.”
The church is aimed at holidaymakers and opens between Easter and October every year.
Campaigners say the closure will not only affect parishioners but priests too as the church, which offers luxury accommodation for clergy, allowed priests to take welcome summer breaks in return for celebrating Masses.
Campaigners said: “The scheme works like a watch – we have a full supply of priests for each year from all over Britain and beyond, even from the US. We hope that Pope Francis can see it is all a terrible mistake and [will] keep it open.”
Earlier this year, Bishop Peter Brignall of Wrexham announced plans to shut 22 of the 62 Catholic churches across north Wales by 2020.
A spokesman for Wrexham diocese said: “It is regrettable that the campaigners calling themselves the Friends of Sant Garmon should have thought it necessary to petition the Holy Father to rescind the proposal for the closure of the church in Abersoch.
“The bishop has initiated a programme of evangelisation to be piloted on the Llŷn in the new year.
“He acknowledges that some within the church will find the pastoral plan painfully challenging but its purpose will be to inspire, renew and strengthen the faith of all believers.”
Campaigners also argue that if Sant Garmon’s closes many people will have to travel long distances to attend Mass.
In a statement to the press, the campaign group said: “Many, if not the majority, realise that if Sant Garmon closes they will have great difficulty, for all sorts of genuine and practical reasons, in getting their family to any other Catholic church.”
The statement continued: “This is not congregationalism, it is an example of a principled determination by faithful Catholic families not to let the habit of worshipping on holiday wither.”
Bishop Brignall wrote to Catholics across north Wales in April saying the closures would mean “pastors and communities will have to look afresh at how we live parish life, how the Catholic Church in north Wales is profoundly missionary.”
The bishop asked Catholics to approach the decision with a “generous heart and a steadfast faith”.
Explaining his decision, he added: “I said at the outset of this reorganisation and restructuring, my intent was to ensure that in each of the remaining churches of the diocese Sunday Mass would be celebrated every Sunday of the year.
“On present calculations, by 2020 the number of under-retirement-age priests will be 22; therefore to achieve my intention there need to be around only 40 churches, not the 62 there currently are.”
Oratory headmaster resigns
The headmaster of the Oratory school in Fulham, west London, has resigned to take up a post at Aquinas College in Perth, Australia.
David McFadden was a pupil at the London Oratory school and started as a science teacher there in 1982. Speaking of his 10 years as headmaster, he said: “I have loved my time at the London Oratory … The real joy of being the head at the school has been the pupils; they are magnificent. I will miss the whole community.”