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MARCH 2 2012 THE CATHOLIC HERALD
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Director criticises migrant detention
BY ED WEST
THE DIRECTOR of the Jesuit Refugee Service has criticised the Government’s policy of detaining asylum seekers.
Louise Zanre said that the use of detention was often unnecessary and came with huge financial and human costs.
The latest Home Office figures for the final quarter to December last year show that 99 children were detained, of whom 79 were either in Tinsley House immigration removal centre or Seders pre-departure accommodation centre, which both have family accommodation. There is capacity in the 13 detention centres around the country to hold 3,397 detainees. Another 635 are held in prisons.
During the fourth quarter 41 children entered detention, including the pre-departure centres, an increase from 30 in the previous quarter. All of them were accommodated with their families, except for five who are age-disputed.
People are detained on the say-so of a civil servant, there is no judicial oversight, and there is no time limit on detention. The cost of detaining an individual is £110 per day.
“It is an iniquitous system, the cost of which ruins many people’s lives,” Mrs Zanre told Independent Catholic News.
“One of the biggest problems I’ve found from talking to detainees is the uncertainty, never knowing how long they will be held. It is different for the prisoner who knows the length of his or her sentence. For the detainee, it is just another day.”
In 2011, 102 children left detention, of who 59 were removed from the country. Mrs Zanre told The Catholic Herald that this showed there was, “quite a significant minority who should not have been in detention,” and she called for “judicial safeguards to be implemented to prevent people being detained unnecessarily”.
She said: “It’s much easier for a civil servant working for the state and with the state’s interests are heart to make a decision like that.
A new wing in the Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre in West Drayton, London
Some of those children might not have been detained at all if a court had supervised.”
Detention is thought to have a detrimental impact on mental and physical health, with detained children reporting insomnia, bed-wetting, weight loss, speech regression, depression and self-harm.
The Royal College of Psychiatrists, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, Royal College of General Practitioners, the Children’s Society and other bodies have criticised the incarceration of children. Among those who are detained are people who have had their asylum cases refused and are awaiting deportation, a process than can be lengthy. In some cases, such as with Palestinians, people are stateless because they are unable to receive travel documents.
Mrs Zanre said that the cost of the system in human terms is significant.
She said: “Detention may be a necessary evil, but it is overused and unnecessary.
There are a lot of people who are released from detention with temporary leave to remain. There is a human cost as well as financial one.”
The Government is committed to phasing out the detention of children after protests from the Church and other campaigning groups.
In December 2010 Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced that Britain would end the widely criticised practise, a move that was welcomed by Auxiliary Bishop Patrick Lynch of Southwark, who is responsible for the Bishops’ Conference’s Office for Migration Policy. Mrs Zanre said: “The Government has certainly made some effort in relation to families, but still families are being split. It is not always appropriate or even necessary.”
Last summer the Government turned a converted special needs school in Sussex into a house for families facing removal from Britain, following the closure of the family unit of the Yarl’s Wood immigration removal centre, in Bedfordshire.
Catholics mourn comedian Frank Carson
BY MADELEINE TEAHAN
FANS mourning the death of Catholic comedian Frank Carson paid their last respects last weekend by visiting his casket.
Hundreds of mourners said their final goodbyes in St Kentigern’s church in Blackpool, Lancashire, as the 85-year-old’s coffin was placed in public view.
The comedian’s funeral and burial will take place in his native town of Belfast this weekend following his long battle with stomach cancer.
Carson’s parish priest, Fr David Burns, told the Belfast Newsletter that it was the comedian’s particular wish that his body be taken to in his adopted parish church before it was taken to his home town in Northern Ireland.
Fr Burns said: “Frank and Ruth used to come to St Kentigern’s every Saturday night when he was in town.
“He was working right up until the last six months of his life and he would go away sometimes for shows and events, but he would come to our vigil Mass when available.”
The priest said that the church was more than happy to help the Carson family during their period of mourning.
“The feeling was that they wanted something for people on this side of the water that would have known him, whether they be fellow parishioners or people who
Frank Carson joked that his meeting with John Paul II lasted longer than Reagan’s knew him around Blackpool or even further afield,” he said.
Fr Burns described the comedian as popular and down to earth. “He was a very popular man,” he said. “Lots of people knew him, worked with him or just knew him as a parishioner. He was very much the same whether you met him on the street or saw him on television.
“He was always ready with a smile and a joke. He liked being with people and making them laugh.”
Frank Carson’s funeral takes place tomorrow morning at St Patrick’s Church, Donegall Street, Belfast.
He was born in Belfast in November 1926 and grew up in a part of the city known then as Little Italy.
He attended St Patrick’s elementary school and sang in the choir at St Patrick’s church, Donegall Street.
He is survived by his wife Ruth, his daughter Majella and his two sons, Tony and Aidan.
Upon hearing the news of Carson’s death Trevor Carson, a nephew and a goalkeeper with Premier League side Sunderland, said: “After a lengthy and wearisome illness, my uncle, friend and hero has passed on to join the great comedy legends of our generation.”
Due to his tireless charity work Blessed Pope John Paul II inducted him into the Order of St Gregory in Rome in 1987. Carson proudly said: “I got 17 minutes with His Holiness. President Reagan only got 11.”
Carson was also known for telling Irish jokes, including on abortion. “They say you can’t have an abortion in Ireland, [but] it’s not true – only there’s a 12-month waiting list,” he said. Editorial Comment: Page 13
Kinnoull Centre for
Spirituality Home of the Redemptorists in Scotland Monday 2nd to Thursday 5th April 2012: Holy Week Retreat ‘The Journey to Easter’ Frs Kieran Brady and Tom MacCarte CSsR We follow Christ's Way of the Cross, to Calvary and to the joy of the Resurrection. We spend these sacred days with Jesus, looking for the times when our paths cross and our journeys become one. Monday 6th to Friday 10th August 2012: A Summer Retreat ‘With him there is plentiful Redemption’ Fr. Gerry Mulligan CSsR We spend a few peaceful days reflecting on God’s love for us made visible in Christ Jesus our Lord. He is the one who walks with us in all our ways. God is with us in all the changes in our journey. Friday 12th to Sunday 14th October 2012: A Reflective Weekend ‘That you may have life to the full’ Fr. Daniel O’Leary We are called in to the deep by God’s dream for us. The retreat will be about our journey to wholeness, towards personal transforma happier way of living and of passing on that Joy.
Also available: Our seven week Sabbatical for Priests and Religious. Please do contact us for further details.
Redemptorist Centre of Spirituality
Telephone: 01738 624075 Email: email@example.com www.kinnoullmonastery.co.uk
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Ethicists’ appeal for infanticide provokes outrage Scottish cardinal hails Pakistani martyr as a hero
BY MADELEINE TEAHAN
Continued from Page 1 the fact that a foetus has the potential to become a person who will have an (at least) acceptable life is no reason for prohibiting abortion. Therefore... when circumstances occur after birth such that they would have justified abortion, what we call afterbirth abortion should be permissable.”
The authors also support infanticide for non-medical reasons but do not state at which point in a baby’s development infanticide would no longer be permissable because “it depends on the neurological development of newborns, which is something neurologists and psychologists would be able to assess”.
Following the Daily Telegraph investigation into of sex-selective abortions prolifers have expressed fears about the practical consequences of abortion laws. When investigative journalists secretly filmed clinicians apparently agreeing to arrange abortions on the grounds of sex, one consultant was recorded saying: “I don’t ask questions. If you want a termination, you want a termination.”
The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) said that evidence of sex-selective abortion in Britain “confirms the reality of eugenics in modern British medicine” and called on the Government to cut ties with private abortion providers.
Anthony Ozimic, communication manager for SPUC, said: “This investigation confirms the reality of eugenics in modern British medicine, in which some innocent human beings are deemed too inconvenient to be allowed to live.
“Sex-selective abortion is an inevitable consequence of easy access to abortion, a situation to which the pro-abortion lobby has no convincing answer.
“The Government needs to cut its ties to private abortion providers and to abortion rights organisations. They are complicit in sex-selective abortion domestically through their support for abortion on demand and internationally through their complicity in China’s population control programme.”
The pro-life charity Life, which offers non-directive counselling on abortion called on the Government to take action.
Life spokesman Mark Bhagwandin said: “This represents the culmination of years of abuse of the abortion laws in the country to the extent that the rate of abortion is one every three minutes.
“The Telegraph investigation clearly shows that some abortion providers feel they can not only abuse, but also blatantly break the law.”
BY JOHN NEWTON
CARDINAL KEITH O’BRIEN has paid tribute to murdered Pakistan politician and human rights campaigner Shahbaz Bhatti, calling on people to take up his cause in defence of religious freedom.
Cardinal O’Brien, the Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, made the comments in a message which will be read out at a peace concert and rally in London on Saturday March 10, commemorating the first anniversary of Mr Bhatti’s death.
In his message the cardinal praised Mr Bhatti’s human rights work and drew attention to the Pope’s admiration for his commitment to social justice.
He said: “Shahbaz Bhatti was a truly remarkable hero whose legacy must live on in our own lives.
“The call of religious freedom was one he made his own and anyone who cares about the dignity of the human person will listen to his words.”
“Pope Benedict XVI has paid tribute to what he described as Shahbaz Bhatti’s ‘untiring battle for the rights of minorities [that] ended in his tragic death’.”
Mr Bhatti, Pakistan’s first federal minister for minority affairs, was shot dead while travelling to work in Islamabad.
The Cabinet-rank politician and Catholic was killed after campaigning on behalf of Asia Bibi, Pakistan’s first woman to be sentenced to death under the blasphemy laws.
In his message, the cardinal drew attention to the last interview Mr Bhatti gave before his death, in which he spoke of the death threats he had received for campaigning against the blasphemy laws and about his own faith.
Mr Bhatti said: “I want to share that I believe in Jesus Christ, who has given his own life for us. I know what is the meaning of [the] Cross, and I am following the Cross, and I am ready to die for a cause.”
Reflecting on his words, Cardinal O’Brien said: “His witness is a remarkable one that has lessons for us all.
“First of all, he embraces the Cross – the centre of the Christian faith – and he was faithful to the example of Jesus Christ, following in his steps.
“Second, he is prepared to live out that faith, standing up not just for the Christian community but for all religious minorities who experience persecution on the pretext of blasphemy.”
Cardinal O’Brien has spoken out frequently in defence of religious freedom, drawing on his travels to many parts of the world where Christians are oppressed and persecuted.
NEWSBULLETIN Over 700 Londoners to become Catholic at Easter HUNDREDS of Londoners are preparing to be received into the Catholic Church at Easter.
Eucharist was a “powerful reminder to cradle Catholics of the privilege that we are able to part take in every week”.
Over 700 people took part in Rite of Election ceremonies at Westminster Cathedral last weekend, making a commitment to entering into full communion with the Church.
Anthony Curran, director of catechetics, said their longing to receive the
He added: “This is a very special year to be joining the Church. With the Eucharistic Congress, the launch of the Year of Faith, the Queen’s diamond jubilee, and the Olympics, 2012 promises to be memorable and inspiring.”
Sacred items stolen from church CHURCHES in Walsall have been asked to be vigilant following the theft of the tabernacle, brass candlesticks, crucifixes and other religious items from St Joseph’s Catholic church. The items, discovered missing on Sunday morning, are together worth about £5,000.
Also stolen were a chalice and a silver-plated ciborium. Damage was caused to nativity figurines as the offenders searched for brass and other valuable metal.
Parish priest Fr Burke said: “I am very sorry for the people that did this, and for the people of the parish who were so distressed. This is the first time in 45 years that anything like this has happened and hopefully it will be the last. I would like to thank the police for how quickly they responded.”
Police constable Adam Harris said: “We are hoping that someone’s conscience will help retrieve these items so that we can restore them to their rightful place.”
Archbishop: Iʼm not persecuted THE ARCHBISHOP of Westminster has said he does not believe Christians in Britain are being persecuted for their faith.
In an interview with the Guardian, Archbishop Vincent Nichols said: “I personally don’t feel in the least bit persecuted. I don’t think Christians should use that word.”
His comments follow Baroness Warsi pointing to a rising tide of “militant secularism”.
BBC harsher on Christianity THE DIRECTOR general of the BBC has said that Christianity is treated less sensitively than other religions because it has “pretty broad shoulders”.
Mark Thompson, a Catholic, said that other faiths had “very close identity with ethnic minorities” and as a result were covered in a more careful way by broadcasters. He also said complaints involving an AK47 “definitely raise the stakes”.
Petition gains 50,000 signatures A PETITION opposing the introduction of same-sex marriage has been signed by more than 50,000 people in just one week. It can be signed at C4m.org.uk.
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