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Cardinal: give citizenship to migrants
Outcry after the Archbishop of Westminster backs London Mayor over research into amnesty
CARDINAL CORMAC MurphyO’Connor has proposed that the Government should grant an amnesty to illegal immigrants who have settled in Britain, a policy which the main political parties oppose except for the Liberal Democrats. His remarks came after the Mayor of London Boris Johnson announced a study into an amnesty for long-term illegal immigrants in the capital. Immigration Minister Phil Woolas said the idea was “naive in the extreme”. In an interview with the Sunday programme on BBC Radio 4, Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor said: “There is a point here about some migrants who come here and are here for years and they are undocumented. After a certain time, a way should be given for them to receive citizenship here and so get the benefits of that.” People should “appreciate the gifts” that migrants bring, he said, “and also make sure that in some way they are supported”. Many of those who come to Britain without papers “are quite vulnerable and can easily be threatened and exploited”. On Sunday Boris Johnson welcomed the Cardinal’s comments. “It’s clear there is a case to consider here,” Mr Johnson said. “And no debate would be undone by being better informed.” Other bishops are known to support granting legal status to irregular migrants, though they prefer the term “pathway into citizenship” rather than “amnesty”. This would mean that anyone who had lived in Britain for a number of years could be granted a two-year work permit. After that they would be legally allowed to stay provided they passed an English language test, had a job and did not have a criminal record. Auxiliary Bishop Pat Lynch of Southwark, the author of a Church document on migration, backed
BORIS JOHNSON: ‘It is clear there is a case to consider for an amnesty for migrants’ CARDINAL MURPHY-O’CONNOR: ‘A way should be given to receive citizenship’ IMMIGRATION MINISTER PHIL WOOLAS: Idea of an amnesty is ‘naive in the extreme’
the Cardinal. He said it was partly a question of justice for the children of illegal immigrants. “I’d agree completely with the Cardinal about finding a way to grant citizenship to those longterm migrant workers and their children,” Bishop Lynch said. “Those children are born in limbo. What the Cardinal is saying is that if people have been here a long time they might have two children who have lived here all their lives. There’s a moral case for giving those people citizenship. They will feel less marginalised that way.” There were also practical and economic reasons for finding a way to citizenship, the bishop said. “If you have people staying here for years [applying for visas] it’s tying up the courts. Are they crim
inals? In terms of documentation they are ‘undocumented’.” Bishop Lynch suggested that “99 per cent” of new migrants were loyal to Britain. He said: “The Church speaks out for the Kingdom of God wherever love, justice, peace and compassion are put into practice. What is important is that we listen to the values that the Cardinal is talking about and that we inform ourselves.” In April Bishop Lynch produced the bishops’ conference document Mission of the Church to Migrants in England and Wales . It did not go as far as recommending a specific policy of granting citizenship to long-term irregular migrants. The Strangers Into Citizens campaign has led calls for undocumented migrants to be given a
“pathway into citizenship”. Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor has been seen as sympathetic with Strangers Into Citizens in the past, first mentioning an amnesty in a Mass for migrants in 2006, though his spokesman emphasised this week that there is no formal link between the campaign group and the Church. Tory MP Ann Widdecombe, who served as shadow Home Secretary from 1999 to 2001, said she disagreed with the hierarchy about illegal migrants. “I don’t mind the Church pronouncing on moral issues but really the Church must think of the long-term consequences of some of the things they advocate,” Miss Widdecombe said. “We do welcome the stranger. Our system
welcomes anybody who is fleeing persecution. But it’s very, very simple: the problem with amnesties is that you create an incentive. That is why in 1999 I said ‘no more amnesties’.” She said anybody born in this country could stay here, although the parents could be deported. “We should not be blackmailed by parents who are here illegally deciding to have children,” she added. “You think how you would feel if you were trying to wait patiently for a member of your family to get a visa to stay in this country and a visa was granted to someone who had just been smuggled in the back of a lorry.” Sir Andrew Green of the thinktank Migrationwatch said the Church should leave Government
policy to Government and bear in mind Christ’s injunction to “render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s”. Sir Andrew, a churchgoing Anglican, said that the Cardinal’s suggestion would worsen the problem. He pointed to Italy, which has had five amnesties, and Spain, which has had six, its last one legalising 700,000 migrants. “I think it’s very unfortunate for a major Church leader to lend his support to a policy which is not only ineffectual but actually harmful to many people in our society,” he said. “Illegal immigration tends to undercut the wages of the lowpaid and enables unscrupulous employers to compete unfairly with those who pay a decent wage. It’s important to make the distinc
tion between our personal responsibility to welcome strangers and the duty of the Government to maintain an effective immigration system in the interests of society as a whole.” Legalising the status of migrants, Sir Andrew said, would solve nothing “as they will rapidly be replaced by others who come from countries where wages are between a fifth and a 25th of what they are in Britain”. Governments have occasionally granted amnesties to failed asylum seekers who have remained in Britain as a result of bureaucratic inefficiency, but not for illegal economic migrants. Bishop Thomas McMahon of Brentwood has called for a “regularisation” of immigrants. At a Mass for migrants at Westminster Cathedral in May he said: “For any Government to choose to do nothing about regularisation is irresponsible and leaves countless migrants vulnerable to exploitation and living in fear and in limbo.” At a conference in Liverpool last week Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travellers, spoke of the need for a “culture of solidarity”. No one is a foreigner in the Church, he said. Unity “does not stem from [the Church’s] members having an identical national or ethnic origin but from the spirit of Pentecost, which makes all nations a new people whose goal is the Kingdom, whose condition is the freedom of sons and daughters, and whose statute is the law of love”. In his address to the conference, Archbishop Patrick Kelly of Liverpool said: “As we reflect on the slavery of today, and now the consequences of economic turmoil, the consequences of the structures of trade, there is no ready-made biblical answer or complete theological answer.”
Editorial comment: Page 11
Cardinal Hinsley Priest and Patriot
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Benedict XVI considers moving the sign of peace
Herald cover price to rise next week
ASENIOR Vatican cardinal has signalled that the sign of peace will be moved to another part of the Mass. Cardinal Francis Arinze, the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship (CDW), said Pope Benedict XVI was in favour of “a different placement of the sign of peace during the Mass”. The cardinal said: “Often people do not understand the full significance of this gesture. It is thought of as an opportunity to shake the hands of friends, when in reality it is a way of saying to those standing in one’s proximity
that the peace of Christ is truly present on the altar and also with all men. “In order to create a more reverent climate while preparing for Communion, moving the sign of peace to the Offertory has been considered. “The Pope has requested a consultation with all the bishops, then he will decide.” In the New Ritethe sign of peace comes between the Lord’s Prayer and the Agnus Dei. According to the rubrics exchanging the sign of peace is optional. In the Anglican tradition the sign of peace comes, as has been proposed by Cardinal
Arinze, at the Offertory. The cardinal also spoke of his experiences at the CDW, saying that most liturgical abuses originated in ignorance, not ill will. In an interview with L’Osservatore Romano , the Vatican newspaper, he said: “I will tell you at once that the Congregation is not a sort of ecclesiastical police which can give swift intervention for any kind of problem. “The dicastery was born at first to deal with objectively difficult situations. We wrote in Redemptionis Sacramentum in 2004 that many of the abuses are not the fault of bad intentions but from ignorance.”
Lennon’s boast was just a ‘quip’, says Vatican paper
THE VATICAN ’ S newspaper has forgiven John Lennon for suggesting the Beatles were bigger than Jesus. John Lennon’s claim in March 1966 that the band were more popular than Christ
caused uproar, with some evangelical Christians burning Beatles albums. L’Osservatore Romano has now dismissed the remarks as a “quip” and praised the Beatles for their musical talent. In an article to mark the 40th anniversary of the White Album , the newspaper said: “The phrase that provoked profound indignation, especially in the United States, after so many years sounds merely like the boast of a working-class English youth faced with unexpected success.”
The real talent of the Beatles, it said, “rested in their unequalled capacity to write popular songs with a sort of euphoric lightness that constituted a genuine trademark”. It continued: “Today recordings seem above all to be standardised and stereotyped, falling well short of the creativity of the Beatles. The talent of Lennon and the other Beatles gave us some of the best pages in modern pop music.” Only “snobs”, it said, would dismiss the songs, which had stood the test of time.
THE CATHOLIC HERALD will increase its cover price next week as well as increasing the number of its pages. The cover price will rise to £1.20 from £1 (€1.50 to €1.80 for Eurozone copies) starting with our December 5 issue. At the same time, the paper will increase from 16 to 20 pages. It will be printed on better quality newsprint and, for the first time in the paper’s history, will be colour throughout. This represents a 25 per cent increase in the size of the newspaper, compared to a price rise of 20 per cent. The Herald ’s cover price has remained unchanged since November 2004. Over the past four years we have absorbed the annual rise in costs of producing the newspaper and shielded the reader from regular cover price rises. We are committed to offering readers maximum value for money, more so than ever in these difficult financial times. The additional four pages will consist of: An extra World News page (increasing our coverage of foreign news by 50 per cent). An extra Catholic Life page (doubling our coverage of parish events). An extra books page (doubling our literary coverage). And an extra devotional page (featuring Lectio Divina). A special editor’s message next week will explain the changes in detail.
Help Heal India’s Wounds
This young girl’s face was burned when extremists torched her village in Orissa, eastern India.
They attacked her because she is a Christian.
In India systematic violence against Christians has left more than: • 60 dead • 18,000 injured • 50,000 homeless • 80 churches destroyed.
ACN is determined to do what it can to help. India’s Christians need your prayers and your help.
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