In light of the recent announcement that the Italian search and rescue operation in the Mediterranean Sea will cease and the UK government will not assist the European-wide operation, Bishop Patrick Lynch, Chair of the Office for Migration Policy at the Catholic Bishops’ Conference Department of International Affairs has issued the following statement:
“Last summer at Lampedusa, Pope Francis challenged us to take responsibility for our brothers and sisters. He warned us against losing our bearings in a culture of comfort and becoming insensitive to the cries of other people. Since the tragedies of last October, the Italian navy has led efforts to save many thousands of lives but now this is a time for all European governments to recognise that others’ suffering is our business.
“While efforts are being made to find lasting solutions to these challenges, we have a duty to heed with compassion the cries of our wounded brothers and sisters, and not to pass by on the other side. Britain is still Europe’s leading naval power, and to refuse to join in Mediterranean search and rescue operations would be a misguided abdication of responsibility to those thousands of men, women, and children who have been driven from their homes by persecution and war and forced to risk death at sea.”
Rt Rev Patrick Lynch
Auxiliary Bishop of Southwark