CATH NEWS REPORT: Asylum seekers deserve dignity, seeking a safe and sustainable life, said the Bishop of Wagga Wagga, Gerard Hanna, reports the Catholic Weekly.
Bishop Hanna is the newly elected delegate for Migrants and Refugees for the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference."The competing points of view that currently comprise the debate in Australia regarding the treatment of migrants and refugees reflect the emphasis by Government on the issues of border security and responsible control of incoming itinerant people to this country," Bishop Hanna said in his homily at a Multicultural Mass at St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney on May 10.
"While acknowledging the difficulties faced by the minister and the department in serving the nation responsibly on this issue, it is becoming clear that there are other options – apart from mandatory detention of asylum seekers – that will support the necessity of government policies geared to the protection of all Australians.
"The position of the Catholic Church is clear on this matter – the challenge is to combine the welcome due to every human being, especially those in need, with a reckoning of what is necessary for both the local inhabitants and new arrivals to live a dignified and promising life, in peace."
Bishop Hanna said the advocacy role of the Church and other agencies is "bearing fruit", adding that the Church supports the Federal Government in "every move that promotes a more humane alternative" to detention centres.
"It is to be hoped that more appropriate ways of dealing with refugees will open the way to a more positive appreciation of what our migrants have to offer," he said.