The UK and the rest of Europe need to do more to welcome refugees, Cardinal Vincent Nichols has said.
During an address at a Caritas Social Action (CSAN) parliamentary reception today, Cardinal Vincent Nichols began his address by reflecting on the refugee crisis. He said: “Yes, it is right to help people avoid the dreadful journeys that are being undertaken. Yes it is right to put significant help into the refugee work on the borders of conflict zones and I am glad we are leading the way.
“But so much more needs to be done both in welcoming refugees here and across Europe to make the response to this crisis both better organised and monitored, thereby becoming more respectful of the dignity of those seeking help. As a member of the EU we should be playing our full part in this effort in Europe.”
Cardinal Nichols added that “People’s generosity, in my view, far outstrips the response of our Government.”
This year CSAN, which is the charitable social action arm of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, is working in solidarity with Caritas France in Calais, supporting and focusing the practical efforts of many groups and parishes in England, in response to that particular refugee crisis.
Cardinal Nichols said that the crisis prompts us “to be clear in our vision and hope for our world.” He continued: “We need to witness to the kind of community we want to inhabit; we need to show that we are a community which welcomes the stranger; and more broadly we need to help build a community and a society which offers opportunity to all, and the wherewithal to build a life and a livelihood.”
The cardinal also said that he was pleased to announce that the Diocese of Westminster, of which he is archbishop, has been recognised officially as a ‘living wage employer’ by the Living Wage Foundation, which works to ensure people are paid a fair wage as opposed to just minimum wage.
He also went on to say that the family was the first witness of the faith in society. He said: “I have just returned, as you know, from Rome where I took part in the Synod on the Family. I see the family as the first witness of the faith in society, the first workshop in the faith and the backbone of every parish, the first tutoring in humanity for every person.
“As we have seen today, the Caritas network recognises that reality in the work with the family in all areas – from the grassroots in our parishes to our services in the charitable organisations. The Synod of Bishops meeting over the last few weeks, in Rome, gave a great deal of attention to the effects on the family of poverty, violence, war, migration and desperate need. Our work there focused on how we respond pastorally to families in their unique situation and embrace them in God’s mercy and understanding.
This could be no better guidance and affirmation for the compassionate work that you all do day by day.”
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