The lead Catholic Bishop for Migrants and Refugees has called on people in the UK to take up Pope Francis’ call in Fratelli Tutti to oppose racism in all its manifestations.
Speaking on behalf of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales at the start of Hate Crime Awareness week, which runs from 10th to 17th October, Bishop Paul McAleenan reiterated the Holy Father’s call to tackle racism, warning that the UK is not “immune” from such prejudice and discrimination.
“In his latest encyclical Fratelli Tutti Pope Francis puts before us a radical vision of human togetherness, addressing fundamental issues such as migration, peace building and the economy,” the bishop said.
“One of the challenges he mentions is the need to tackle racism, warning that: ‘a readiness to discard others finds expression in vicious attitudes that we thought long past, such as racism, which retreats underground only to keep re-emerging. Instances of racism continue to shame us, for they show that our supposed social progress is not as real or definitive as we think’.”
Bishop McAleenan added: “Our own society is not immune from this pattern of behaviour.”
He pointed out how in recent years the UK has witnessed a “disturbing resurgence” of hate speech and hate crimes.
“These take many different forms including Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, hatred towards migrants and refugees, and hostility against Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities,” said Bishop McAleenan.
He urged the people of the UK to recommit themselves to actively opposing racism in all its manifestations.
“In the words of Pope Francis: ‘Let us dream, then, as a single human family, as fellow travellers sharing the same flesh, as children of the same earth which is our common home, each of us bringing the richness of his or her beliefs and convictions, each of us with his or her own voice, brothers and sisters all’,” he added.
Picture: Bishop Paul McAleenan meets charity workers and volunteers helping refugees in Dover. (Mazur/cbcew.org.uk).