A Day of Shame

Bishop Brian and his Mother
Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
Today is a shameful day when Britain deports asylum seekers to Rwanda. These people have fled violence, hunger, and poverty and only want to make a fresh start in life. Being young and determined, they have much to offer our country. Nevertheless, they will be cruelly deported today!
In my house hangs a photograph taken over twenty years ago of myself and my mum outside a house in County Donegal. From that house, my dad, as a five-year-old, was evicted. Soon afterwards he and his family sailed on the Derry ‘Cattle Boat’ to start a new life in Greenock, where he continued to know poverty but also encountered racism and sectarianism. Nevertheless, Scotland did provide fresh opportunities and, allied with their hard graft, their lives improved but, in the process, they also contributed to their new country.
My history is no different from that of most Scottish Catholics, for most of us descend from immigrants. Very few of them would have passed today’s stringent Home Office tests! It is hypocrisy to deny others the opportunity afforded to us. What would our forebears think of us? To close our eyes to the desperate and the poor is to deny the Christ we profess to love.
May the Holy Family, who were themselves forced to seek asylum in Africa, move our hearts to discern that we are all brothers and sisters.