In the spirit of Christmas, the Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office encourages the Australian people to look upon asylum seekers with compassion and mercy.
“Whilst policy is becoming more restrictive and punitive, we ought not lose sight of the fact that on the boats there are people” said Bishop Gerard Hanna, Australian Catholic Bishops Delegate for Migrants and Refugees.
“When people turn up unexpectedly, or when people are despised, we honour their humanity; for they are human persons made in the image of God” said Bishop Hanna.
“At Christmas, our eyes and our hearts gaze upon Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus. The Gospel story tells us that they sought refuge in a manger because there was no room for them at the inn (Lk 2:8)” he said.
“Many asylum seekers now live in our community without work rights and receive merely 89 per cent of any relevant government benefits forcing them to live below the poverty line. They live precariously with no possibility to be reunited with their family and are prevented from making an application for any permanent visa or to undertake refugee status determination” said Fr Maurizio Pettenà, Director of ACMRO.
“This year over 6000 asylum seekers will spend Christmas in immigration detention facilities” said Fr Pettenà “It is part of the mission of Christ’s faithful to ensure no one is excluded from the community (cf. EG 59).” Read the rest of this entry »