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COREW text Thank you. How I got involved in these questions, as a theologian. What I will do today: chicken and egg, horse and cart between mine and Sarah’s presentations Last year in excess of 700,000 refugees and migrants were estimated to have arrived in Europe by sea, with more than 3,000 recorded deaths en route. Over 500,000 of those sea arrivals claimed asylum in Europe. The majority of arriving migrants report their nationalities as Syrian, Afghan, Kosovan, Eritrean, Somalian, Albanian, Pakistani, Ukrainian, Serbian, Iraqi and Nigerian. In reality the numbers of migrants actually granted asylum in Europe will remain small with, for example, around 60% of applicants typically refused status in recent years in the UK. Of this large number refused status only a small number return forcibly or voluntarily with the majority remaining in situ but living without the protections afforded by any meaningful form of political membership. This is the migration that is perhaps most visible to us through media reports, but the scale of global migration puts the European picture into relief. Massive internal displacement of peoples, environmental migration and religious persecution are largely ignored by European media. I have just returned from Eastern Europe where the impact of emigration on Poland, Ukraine, Romania is immense. This is to say nothing of the hidden reality of human trafficking. It would be impossible for me to cover the implications of this global picture in the next half hour or so, and I know Sarah will do a much more extensive mapping of who is on the move and why in her talk. So, instead what I will do is the following: I will run through some of the ways that contemporary theologians and catholic social teaching has been thinking about migration, before concluding by drawing out three or four features that I think bear particular theological significance and pastoral and political challenge for us in the UK. First, a little note on terminology and framework: It is very important that from the outset we think very carefully about how we are thinking about churches and about migrants and refugees. As African Jesuit theologian Orabator reminds us: a) Christianity can claim no exclusive concern for the migrant, we build upon ancient value systems and traditions and continue to share teaching in common with other religious and secular traditions b) religion fails migrants just as the state and the market does: religious communities can cause conflict and displacement as much as care for those who are displaced c) there are no easy answers as we seek to relate the impulses of our faith traditions to political and economic processes – there will be disagreement, but there must be a basis for action nonetheless. Equal care needs to be taken with the way we think about the person of the refugee or migrant. A) We need to create legal categories to distinguish between peoples experiences and to judge their claims to entry, but in reality no human life fits easily into such categories, and many migrants now fit multiple such categories over time. B) the dominant images we are presented with by our media are of refugees and migrants as either unwelcome invaders or suffering victims. Theology tries hard to resist the lure of either of these – this is not to doubt the suffering of migrants but rather to suggest that refugees and migrants are also persons with agency, with hope and courage and a desperate desire for self-determination. One way to consider refugees and migrants as persons with agency is to pay attention to the role that faith or religious belief plays in the experience of migration. Whilst it is not often talked about we know that religious belief plays a significant spiritual and psychological role in the lives of many migrants, providing a source of comfort, identity, hope, resistance and also challenge at a time when much is in flux.1 As fellow believers we need to recognise that we meet not only human need or human challenge in the context of the current ‘crisis’ but also we meet migrants and refugees as creative authors of religious traditions – we meet the Church on the move. (Use image of St Michael’s, Calais – tell story). This shouldn't surprise us of course because this theme has strong biblical parallels. I want to spend a few minutes now looking at the way that Catholic social teaching has reflected on the challenge of contemporary migration from within the story of faith. Migration has been a significant theme for the church’s social teaching since at least the 1850’s. In its earliest stages reflection focused on the desire to make provision for the religious needs of migrants, but this developed over the course of a century into a more structural set of reflections on the political and economic conditions that impelled migration (push and pull factors). By the time of the publication of the apostolic constitution on migration, Exsul Familia in 1952, a more systematic theological reflection had entered the social teaching tradition. Exsul Familia introduced the idea that the biblical and doctrinal tradition itself might be viewed as historical deposit of thoughts about migration. The Holy Family were both the models and protectors for all displaced persons, the Church had always had a role in exercising the works of mercy, drawn from Matthew 25, and any analysis of modern patterns of displacement must acknowledge the threat to dignity and security – a matter of central concern for On the role played by religion in migrants’ lives, see S. Snyder, Asylum-Seeking, Migration and Church (Farnham: Ashgate, 2012); J. Hagan, Migration Miracle (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2008); G. T. Bonifacio and V.S.M. Angeles, (eds.), Gender, Religion and Migration: Pathways of Integration (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2009) and P. Levitt, ‘Religion as a Path to Civic Engagement’, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 31.4, (2008), 766-91. 1 the Church. Later Vatican documents on migration develop this theological reflection further: CST documents appeal to the Old Testament themes of Exodus and Covenant, reminding the Church that Christians continue to live out of the exilic memory, spiritual strangers in a foreign land. The prophetic tradition is drawn upon to offer a vision of hospitality and care for the stranger and the oppressed, and we are reminded that God chooses the displaced and the stranger (the one who looks foreign – Ruth) to be difficult and mysterious messengers of a truth we often do not wish to hear – because it reveals our own departure as ‘settled’ people from faithfulness. (a theme Pope Francis has given his own ‘spin’ to). In contrast to a culture that presents the migrant as only either suffering victim or threat to peace, order, values and prosperity the theological tradition presents a more complex view of the agency and dignity of the migrant. This is a subtle theme in CST and much more could probably be made of it to counter suffering victim or dangerous alien themes. The doctrinal focus of Catholic teaching on migration falls upon the Incarnation. Powerful theological meaning is drawn from the Incarnation and the earthly ministry of Christ as itself dominated by the exilic journey and a ministry to the stranger.2 Christ’s ministry draws together into a new community, a Church rather than a nation, the peoples of the earth and blessed by the Spirit at Pentecost, we become a vast and varied inter-cultural body in the world, for the world. What is also interesting is that church documents also note the significance of the line in Revelation in which we are told that people from every nation, every tribe, every people will be presented before the throne of the Lamb. Hence partly why it matters that cultures are preserved in the face of obliterating military and economic interests, (it matters to us that both the Yazidis and the Christians are slaughtered – not just that Christians are See discussion of the biblical context and figure of Christ as refugee in Erga Migrantes Caritas Christi, (Vatican City: Pontifical Council for Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, 2004). 2 slaughtered). Catholics believe in universal kinship and the value of distinct cultures and peoples. CST cuts across the communitarian - cosmopolitan politics that tends to split current secular societies. Church documents also suggest that the Church’s own historical self understanding has been formed in part through its own experience of migration. The migrations of early Christianity and displacements of the patristic period can be felt in the adoption of the language of strangerhood, exile and pilgrimage, most famously evident in the Letter to Diognetus and I Peter, in which the Christians adopt for themselves the language of strangerhood, being resident alien – paroikoi. John Paul II’s Erga Migrantes Caritas Christi presents the refugee as icon of the Church’s own nature and reminder of the material reality of the human condition. The person of the forced migrant – flawed, sinful, broken as the rest of us - is to be recognised starkly by the Church as an ethical epiphany of the human condition.3 This biblical and doctrinal reflection on exile and movement provides the foundations for a set of social principles that reflect on the theme of responsibility, aiming to guide political and public reflection on the duty to the refugee. Over the course of the last half century CST has come to propose an interconnected set of formal principles for the handling of migration concerns in law and politics. Catholic social teaching begins by proposing a ‘right to stay” – that is to say, the right not to be displaced.4 This principle can be situated within a wider Catholic anthropology. We all need membership of a stable covenantal community to survive and it is the duty of those who govern to provide the conditions for this For a theological analysis of this see Orobator, ‘Justice for the Displaced’ in Driven From Home, D. Hollenbach ed., (Washington: Georgetown Press, 2010). 4 See Erga Migrantes Caritas Christi (The Love of Christ Towards Migrants), (Vatican City: Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, 2004) 3 stability. IN CST this right to remain is not a possessive Enlightenment ‘right’, but rather is based on a biblical and Thomist emphasis on the social, political, economic and cultural protection due to the person who belongs to a covenantal community. This principle has clear implications for conflict-resolution and development policies addressed to the root contexts of displacement. However, governments fail in this task. And so the second principle states: where there is conflict, persecution, violence or hunger there exist natural and absolute rights of the individual to migrate and a natural right to seek sanctuary within an alternative ‘safe’ political community.5 This implies a third principle: a moral requirement placed upon existing political communities, especially the most materially privileged, to receive the refugee. Catholic Social Teaching recognises that the wellbeing of the person is tied to both the good of the bounded community and a prior recognition of a meaningful global citizenship through membership of the universal human family: we have a pre-political membership of a universal human family, but seek stable and boundaried political communities to thrive. The task of government is to form judgements about state membership based on a balance of these truths - offering sanctuary in recognition of its commitment to the universal common good and finding mediating ways to ensure maintenance of the local common good within the life of the nation. This implies a duty to think through the management of migrant flows, issues of integration and distribution of goods. For these same reasons CST offers a fourth principle: the (imperfect) right of a sovereign political community to regulate borders and control migration. CST has not thus far proposed a Christian political cosmopolitanism based on completely open borders. But neither are borders recognised as divinely ordained, as claimed in some forms of Reformed and Protestant Christian ethics. Rather, in CST borders are conceived as a relative good and recognised as legitimate only insofar as they both protect the common good of the established See Vatican II, Gaudium et Spes (The Pastoral Constitution of the Church in the Modern World), 1965, n.65. 5 community and are porous and humane. Political communities are invited to include within the exercise of sovereignty the establishment and oversight of just measures for those who arrive seeking sanctuary and for effective global governance, to minimise and accommodate migration flows. Sovereignty and hospitality emerge as mutually implicating ideas in CST. Legitimate sovereignty is exercised always with reference to three prior principles: the universal destination of all goods, recognition of prior and inalienable moral unity of humankind, and the requirement to regulate borders according to basic conditions of social justice.6 Finally, recognition of both the social and political nature of the person implies a need for migrant integration and therefore a shared responsibility (migrant, civil society and the state) to enable the meaningful full social, economic, civic, political participation of the migrant in the host community.7 To fail to do so offends against the requirements of contributive and social justice. The model for sociality is one of participation, communication and mutual enrichment within a shared social space. The end goal of the common good is communion in difference, not necessarily consensus – although agreement about some things is pretty basic to a functioning society of course! It is important to stress that this vision takes as its form the Church at Pentecost, and the vision of the common good as the journey towards beatitude. Pope Francis and migration Pope Francis’ own contribution to addressing the question of migration has been rather different in style and tone to his recent predecessors. Firstly, Francis’ unique style has involved physical journeys to the heart of the geo-political sites that most represent our struggle with migration questions – to the shorelines See Benedict XVI’s Caritas in Veritate, (Encyclical On Human Development in Charity and Truth), Vatican City (2009), n.62. 7 See John Paul II, Message for the Day of Migrants and Refugees, (Vatican City, 2001), n.3. See also, on the question of just legislation to enable integration and participation in host communities, John Paul II, Laborem Exercens (Encyclical On Human Work), (Vatican City: 1981), n.23. 6 where migrants arrive, and to in-country holding facilities. His most well known address on migration was made during a homily on the island of Lampedusa. Having received reports of a spate of drowning at sea, he described his journey as a ‘gesture of closeness’. Solidarity for Francis involves a gesture of proximity in order to engage in a reciprocal exchange with migrants.8 In his Lampedusa homily Francis deployed the phrase ‘the globalisation of indifference’. Francis begins with a reflection on the first two questions which God asks humanity in the Scripture: Adam, where are you? Cain where is your brother?9 Francis interprets these passages as stories of human disorientation, of the first signs of a tendency in humankind to lose our place within creation, to lose our orientation as creatures towards a creator. Thus to Fall is to be disorientated, to lose our bearings. It is interesting that Francis juxtaposes an account of the disorientation of the settled in relation to the orientation of the displaced. In order to identify what might be going wrong in a failure to respond adequately to the challenge of the displaced, we must first see our own disorientation. Francis roots this disorientation not only in a classic account of the Fall, but also in the particular conditions of late modernity: here he draws attention to the culture of wellbeing. The culture of wellbeing breeds indifference towards others. Part of the culture of wellbeing is to become accustomed to the suffering of others. Our own transient cultural ways breeds indifference towards truly transient people. Thus globalization, which creates ironically the transience of the settled, produces too as its by-product, the globalisation of indifference. In turn the by-product of the culture of indifference is that we ourselves become anonymous – we seem unable to understand ourselves as named, particular and responsible in relation Text of Pope Francis’ homily: http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/homilies/2013/documents/papafrancesco_20130708_omelia-lampedusa.html (last accessed 22.4.15.) 9 The narrative of Cain and Abel is a trope to which Francis has returned on numerous occasions, most recently in his treatment of integral ecology in Laudato Si’. 8 to named, particular and responsible others. ‘The globalization of indifference makes us all ‘unnamed’, leaders without names and without faces.’10 This is the opposite of the Creator-creature relationship, through which we are named, and as named beings we are called to account for other named beings. Adam, where are you? Cain, where is your brother? This approach to the ethics of migration deals less with the external borders of the nation state and more with the prior internalised borders of the human will as the ‘matter’ of a theological ethics. These two sets of borders – one geopolitical and one interior to the human self – are read against each other. Francis does not wish to construct a false dualism, but rather seems keen that we understand the deep, practical interconnections between the two. In Laudato si’, Francis connects the failure of law to a deep failure in civil society. Indifference to migrant suffering in Europe suggests not just the failure of government or the individual but – of central concern to CST – ‘the loss of that sense of responsibility for our fellow men and women upon which all civil society is founded.’11 Civil society is the context in which compassion must be generated and kept alive: a failure of compassion in the case of migrant welcome indicates for Francis a failure of civil society to be itself as much as failures in state political leadership. Laudato si’ also opens up the possibility of an analysis of migration and displacement which is deeply attentive to environmental realities, and which utilises the notion of environmental debt as part of a moral theological framework. However, this work remains to be more fully developed. The notion that the social teaching of the Church should lead us back towards a willingness to suffer as a form of solidarity is an emerging hallmark of Francis’ pontificate. Francis’ contrast between a ‘well-being’ culture that seeks to protect the person from the suffering of others and a Christian social ethics, which seeks ways to take the suffering of others into the life of the self, is sharp and deliberate. In Laudato Si’ Francis goes as far as to suggest this defines the very 10 11 See link to Lampedusa sermon above. Laudato Si’, paragraph 25. task of Catholic social teaching itself: ‘Our goal is not to amass information or to satisfy curiosity, but rather to become painfully aware, to dare to turn what is happening to the world into our own personal suffering and thus to discover what each of us can do about it.’ Francis claims this theodic practice as the first inter-subjective move of a countercultural, Christocentric church. In choosing to make repeated pastoral visits to centres of detention and to Lampedusa Francis has shifted attention to the liminal spaces where dignity is most challenged in the migration process: the spaces where access to legal rights are most restricted and claims to personhood before law most contested. Despite the willingness of a small number of European countries to receive significant numbers of new arrivals, the moral thrust of UK and EU policy and political rhetoric remains towards enforcement, exclusion and expulsion; with the language framed strongly by security concerns. We talk welcome and conflict resolution at an official level, but in practice we fail to sustain the political will necessary to achieve peace and we marshal our resources towards ensuring the non-arrival of the displaced. Throughout Europe the task of humanitarian response has fallen to local ‘host’ populations, NGO’s and faith-based organisations. In response to this situation and their on the ground experience Catholic FBO’s have made the following positive calls, in line with CST: Peace building and conflict resolution Policy geared towards long-term stability in Middle East & Africa Commitment to speedy re-settlement of refugees & burden sharing Access to safe/ legal routes: sponsorship & humanitarian visas No detention for administrative purposes Critique of austerity as framing political narrative for public discussion Reform of Dublin – ease family reunification Meaningful social rights: work, social participation Enforce non-refoulement principle In my final comments I want to suggest a number of areas where there are tensions for us in the UK with regards the CST we have outlined and the direction of travel in public policy and public opinion. The story we are currently telling ourselves about the nature of migration and the role of the nation state is changing, and it is changing in ways that I think are problematic for Christians. 1) Our response to the increasing number of persons on the move towards Europe has been to adopt an increasingly hostile stance towards arriving migrants. In the UK especially, but not alone, we are moving towards an enforcement and deterrence model of engagement with refugees and migrants. The creation of hostile environments – making it difficult to arrive in the UK (to get territorial access), ensuring that living conditions are uncomfortable, moving people on so that settling and integration become difficult, the use of detention facilities to ensure separation of migrant and settled populations, the increased use of forced removals and deportations, minimizing access to the law – is now national policy. This reality presents a real challenge to churches – to find ways to enact welcome, to practice accompaniment and the works of mercy, but also to challenge the structures that make such a reality possible. 2. The stories that refugees and migrants tell us about their experience as well as any glance at recent legislation tell us that we are involved in the conscious manufacture of human isolation. This is happening at every level of the process – en route from country of origin, in seeking safe passage, in the way that asylum processes are administrated, in the narrowing of regular migration routes and the feeding of the role of the mafia as a consequence, in the way we accommodate and provide welfare to arriving refugees and migrants. To manufacture the conditions of isolation is to actively create poverty. There can be no Christian definition of human government that sees this as a human good. 3. which brings me to my third concern: the absence of any substantive structuring notion of the common good in our public discourse about migration. The CST tradition helps us to frame the following question: can we agree on what we are ‘for’ – on a substantive account of the moral good we aim for in the case of managing migration? The church’s tradition – St Augustine in particular – teaches us that if we cannot talk about the good as the focus for our lives then into that void creeps forms of evil, negative cycles of reactive policy and public opinion. What kinds of competing moral narratives of the good do we hear in our contexts and what sense can we make of them in the light of Scripture and CST? Do we discern narratives of the good in the conversations about immigration we are part of or privy to? How might the Church embody a vision of the good in our contexts? Where, in a practical and local sense, can the Church be agents of common good practices and conversations: embodying presence, enabling estranged groups to talk about the good they hope for in communities and their duty towards neighbours? Finally, I think the church also has to find ways to deal with the presence of race and the fear of Islam as features of the current public debate. A fear of Islam and a lack of knowledge as to how to do dialogue with Islam is a concern I meet often in talking about migration with groups from local congregations, public meetings to groups of bishops. This fear needs to be addressed constructively. I also don’t think that we can ignore the racial dimensions to the current scene. Those refused entry, those subject to detention and forced removal, those denied status, those most dependent on irregular migration routes to achieve safety or economic survival are disproportionately likely to have darker skin. The reaction to the pictures of young men, late teens, with dark skin arriving from Calais last week is a case in point. I have just returned from spending a week with Catholic and Anglican bishops from across the globe. Amongst our number was the Bishop of Beirut. He fears that Lebanon is being overwhelmed by its experience of seeking to offer hospitality to very large numbers of migrants. One in five of Lebanon’s population is a Syrian refugee. He wonders where the rest of the world is, and, as a Catholic, he counsels a properly historical engagement of Christian communities in the politics and economics that drive global conflicts. He is interested in the solidarity of those willing to address the sale of arms and the deep vested economic interests he perceives the West has in the Middle East. When I asked him what he would want others in our context to hear he says that he feels strongly that our duty does not lie in welcome and hospitality alone, but in being willing to address and bind the wounds of our societies at every level.