The Bishops of England and Wales released a statement on the on-going refugee crisis after their November 2015 plenary meeting. (It follows on from their previous statement on 9 September.)
They called on the UK Government to expedite the Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme and give it priority during the next eighteen months.
“This compassionate programme could realistically be extended to more of the millions of displaced people. The barbarous attacks in Paris last week should not deter us from caring for those in need.”
They stated that their concern was for the many refugees already living in our communities as well as those arriving under the Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme.
We encourage our Governments to recognise the value of properly resourced initiatives promoting integration, enabling refugees to work and contribute to wider society. The experience of the Catholic Community in England and Wales, which consists of people from a rich diversity of ethnic, cultural and linguistic backgrounds, offers encouragement and example.
Yet this crisis is a challenge for all of us. We are enormously encouraged by the generosity that has been shown by so many people, in recent months. We urge people to continue contributing their time, skills and funds through our dioceses or the many excellent charities working to support refugees.
Everybody can help build a culture of welcome, even by simply extending the hand of friendship to people as they settle into their new home.
Today there is intense awareness of the vast numbers of displaced persons sheltering in refugee camps and cities throughout the world. They too are our brothers and sisters. They command our moral concern. Our recognition of the innate human dignity of each person in this refugee crisis should elicit a generous response. This is the challenge to our shared moral identity and culture, our civilisation.
You can read the full statement on the website of the Catholic Church in England and Wales.