Scottish Bishops Ask Britain to "Welcome the Stranger"

Call for a Reconsider of Asylum and Immigration Policies

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

GLASGOW, Scotland, DEC. 20, 2004 ( Scotland’s Catholic bishops are pressing for asylum and immigration reform this Christmas.

Richard McCready, national secretary of the Scottish Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, has written to the new Home Secretary Charles Clarke asking him to reconsider the government’s policy toward asylum.

«We believe that we have a duty to welcome the stranger in our midst,» said McCready in a letter that highlighted the work the commission has done in campaigning for fairer treatment for asylum seekers.

«We believe that behind the statistics and headlines about asylum and immigration we must remember that we are dealing with real people. These are real people who are often deeply damaged by the process which leads to them seek asylum,» wrote McCready.

In a Christmas message to be broadcast on Radio 4 on Christmas Day, Cardinal Keith O’Brien will also criticize the United Kingdom’s asylum and immigration system, especially the «incarceration» of children in detention centers such as Dungavel.

Cardinal O’Brien is a member of the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers.

He will ask in his broadcast: «How do we welcome strangers? In our detention centers for asylum seekers, refugees including children are virtually incarcerated there while their petitions for asylum in our country are scrutinized, sometimes taking weeks and months. While many of us enjoy an abundance of good things,¬ how willing are we to share these good things with others?»

Bishop Peter Moran, the newly appointed president of the Scottish episcopate’s Justice and Peace Commission, wrote a letter for the day of prayer for justice and peace which will be celebrated Jan. 2, feast of the Epiphany.

In the letter he asks the faithful to take the sign of peace that they make in Mass and «extend that personal attitude of justice and peace into our contacts, into our community and into our country.»

«God will bless such small beginnings, and in his strength we can change our society and change our world,» he said. «And those of us who are influential people can, and should, do more.»

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry


Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation