Am I the only one who feels patronised?
The 24th of September was the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, 2023 and boy did we know about it! The Catholic Bishops of England and Wales posted a series of 24 short videos on Twitter/X stating a series of principles. I can't remember them ever being so enthused about any other topic in history!
Pope Francis reminds us in his letter for the 109th World Day of Migrants and Refugees that everyone has the right to live in peace in a country free from poverty, plundering and persecution.
Cardinal Nichols, in a short video, said that "the innate dignity of every human person should be what we should use when we think about those who arrive as immigrants".
Furthermore, the right to migrate is not a human right. It is not part of the UN framework for human rights and neither Pope Francis not Cardinal Nichols can make it so. They cannot make it a binding part of Catholic teaching either. This is because the idea contradicts the teaching that countries are entitled to determine their own terms of residence. Regulating immigration according to criteria of equity and balance is one of the indispensable conditions for ensuring that immigrants are integrated into society with the guarantees required by recognition of their human dignity according to the Social Doctrine of the Church (see # 268 here). One has to wonder why the Cardinal and the bishops do not teach what the Church actually teaches? If they did, they might actually work to alleviate the concerns of ordinary people which surround this issue. The Church's teaching is based on three main principles:
- People have the right to migrate to sustain their lives and the lives of their families.
- A country has the right to regulate its borders and to control immigration.
- A country must regulate its borders with justice and mercy.