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Friday, December 9, 2016
Church issues new guide on refugees and migrants
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¬†The Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales has published a brief guide to the Church's teaching on refugees and migrants. The booklet: 'The Dispossessed' has been issued by the Office for Refugee Policy. The Dispossessed provides an overview of the concern shown for refugees and migrants by bishops in England and Wales since Cardinal Basil Hume described protection for those fleeing persecution as a "benchmark of a civilised society" in 1990. It also outlines the position and teaching of the Catholic Church in this country and internationally with regard to itinerant peoples, and gives a useful summary of major Church documents on refugees, starting with the Apostolic Constitution Exsul Familia of 1952 and including comments made by Pope John Paul II and papers published in the past under the auspices of the Bishops' Conference of England & Wales. Finally, in the appendix, it reproduces a paper on 'Welcoming the stranger - hospitality in the Bible' by Rev Frank Regan SSC, and provides listings of the titles of, and pertinent passages from, major international legal documents relating to refugees, other references, liturgical resources and internet links for more information. John Joseet, policy advisor and co-ordinator of the Office for Refugee Policy, said: "Millions of people on all continents have fled their homes and countries. The social, economic and political factors behind these mass movements - persecution, human rights abuses, economic deprivation and environmental disasters - are certain to increase as globalisation accelerates and more and more countries close their doors to the fleeing dispossessed. "In fact, in many rich countries there have already been significant departures from accepted international refugee law and principles. Support for the protection of migrant workers in the form of the UN Convention for the Protection of Migrants workers remains lukewarm. "The pastoral care for refugees and migrants has always attracted the attention and solicitude of the Catholic Church. This publication encapsulates the fact that refugees and migrants are central to our Christian faith as well as Catholic teaching - from the Catechism to Catholic Social Teaching." Welcoming the booklet, Bishop Pat O'Donoghue, who chairs the Office for refugee Policy, said: "This publication comes at a time when respect for the human dignity of itinerant people is under attack perhaps more than ever before." For more information contact: John Joseet or Maria Klos, Office of Refugee Policy, Department of International Affairs, 020 7901 4862/7901 4865 For copies please send a cheque for £3.00 per copy payable to "Colloquium (CaTEW) Ltd." to Colloquium, 39, Eccleston Square, London SW1V 1BX.
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