Bishop Patrick Lynch is a Southwark Auxiliary and chairs the Office for Migration Policy for the Bishops’ Conference. He spoke on 11 January about the suffering of refugees:
“In his message for the World Day for Migrants and Refugees on 17 January, Pope Francis invites us to respond to the challenge of migrants and refugees through the Gospel of Mercy. In practice, this means recognising the dignity of migrants and refugees, recognising their suffering, affirming their rights and working (with governments and other agencies) to address the causes that have led to the increase in the number of migrants and refugees.
“Our first priority as the Office for Migration Policy is to continue to work with the UK Government as it seeks to welcome and re-settle 20,000 refugees from Syria over the next few years. With this in mind I will soon be meeting the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Syrian Refugees to discuss the progress of this work and to see what still needs to be done. Another challenge, which will be undertaken in partnership with the French bishops, is to persuade parliamentarians in France and the UK to find a solution to the situation of refugees in Calais.
“Thirdly, we will continue to encourage governments to renew their efforts to build peace in the Middle East, North Africa and other parts of the world – a peace where the dignity of every human being – no matter what their faith – is defended and promoted.”
Bishop Lynch finished by emphasising that “we must do all we can to inform public opinion” and, quoting Pope Francis, “prevent unwarranted fears and speculation detrimental to migrants”.