18 December 2018, The Tablet

The obvious alternative is to simply refuse to cooperate with the registration scheme

The obvious alternative is to simply refuse to cooperate with the registration scheme

Through its lead bishop on migration matters, the Catholic Church in England and Wales has strongly – and justifiably – criticised the Government’s scheme for registering European Union citizens after Britain leaves the EU. Bishop Paul McAleenan called it “unjust and divisive”. He singled out as “unprincipled” the intention to charge adults £65 each to register, saying: “We strongly oppose the decision to charge people for securing the rights they already have.”

There are believed to be three million EU citizens in the UK. Many of them are Catholic, including at least one million Poles, which is relevant in two ways. The bishop said the Church felt a pastoral responsibility for their welfare. What he did not say is that the Government is becoming very nervous about reaching all those who need to apply, as it has no idea who they are and where they live. It wants voluntary bodies – and, reading between the lines, that includes the Catholic Church – to spread the bad news. The Church, it appears to calculate, is one of the few bodies that can reach those communities.

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User Comments (1)

Comment by: Cat
Posted: 17/01/2019 18:52:14
Of course, they should be registered. We need to be in control of the numbers coming in & out of our country. We register via our birth & other certificates, plus the Census. This is no different. It helps planning (eg education needs). The Church hasn’t helped as it has encouraged separation (eg Masses for Poles, so they don’t join in with the Parish; often speaking, working & socialising in Polish, so they live in the UK as if they are still in Poland. The same may be true for people from other countries.) Brits should also integrate if they live abroad. Had we done more of this, many issues might not have arisen. Equally, we should not be taking foreign priests from their countries. They should be supporting the people in their own country. We have priests & the laity can lead other services.