By Sarah Mac Donald - 06 September, 2015
The Bishop of Kildare & Leighlin has given his “full support” to a public meeting which will take place in St Peter & Paul’s Church in Portlaoise on Monday to discuss the refugee crisis.
In a statement published on kandle.ie, Bishop Denis Nulty said he applauded different efforts in the diocese currently underway to address a collective response, as parishioners, and as followers of Christ, to “this huge crisis”.
He said the crisis called for an inter-agency response and added that the Church will not be found wanting in playing its part.
“I encourage parishes and deaneries to gather together to reflect on our pastoral response,” he wrote.
Bishop Nulty said he believed it was important to make distinctions in the use of words – “migrants move, refugees flee and in all cases they are fleeing from situations of terror and blatant persecution”.
He also drew on the words of Pope Francis who said at Lampedusa: “Immigrants dying at sea, in boats which were vehicles of hope and became vehicles of death”.
Elsewhere in his statement, Dr Nulty he said money seems to be of greater priority to the political will of Europe than the value of life.
He highlighted how when the Eurozone was confronted by Grexit, there was an overnight emergency meeting of European leaders; however when faced with the refugee boats and inhumane settlements, the ‘emergency meeting’ could take place up to two weeks later.
“When the abandoned lorry with seventy-one victims decomposing inside was not on the side of the M9, the M7 or the M50, it wasn’t really our concern; the Austrians can deal with that.”
“When we saw the images of the Hungarians building a barbed wire fence, we didn’t get too disturbed.”
“When the Port of Calais was blocked, we saw it as very inconvenient for our hauliers, caught up in a confrontation not of their making. Or is it?”
“Didn’t that image stare us all in our faces on Thursday morning’s papers of the young three year-old Syrian boy whose lifeless body was washed up like driftwood on a Turkish beach?”
“Surely our baptismal calling invites us and challenges us as a diocese to look after the most vulnerable, to be cognisant of the most forgotten and to welcome the most displaced,” Bishop Nulty challenged.