Statement on the Settlement Scheme for EU citizens by Bp. Paul McAleenan
The Catholic Church in England and Wales stands in solidarity with all EU citizens who have made their home here. As the majority are themselves Catholic there is a special pastoral concern for us. Reassurances have been offered by senior politicians but there is profound insecurity and uncertainty among many. There has been too little information and no binding commitment about their right to stay.
The government will soon launch a Settlement Scheme, offering EU citizens living here a legal route to remain. While this is an important step, it may feel very unjust especially for people who have contributed to our society over many years. The Church strongly opposes the decision to charge people for securing the rights they already have. We consider this not only unprincipled but will also create a barrier for larger families or people facing financial difficulties.
But it is a fact that EU citizens must apply if they are to protect their existing rights and their place in our society. I therefore urge all those affected to access the official information on the Settlement Scheme website and to make use of the various information resources available.
Finally we must as a whole Catholic community take up Pope Francis’ call to welcome, protect, promote and help to integrate everyone who has made their home here – with particular concern at present for our European brothers and sisters.
Full copies of the letter are at the back of the church, please take one and let us know what help we can give.