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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