Cardinal to spell out challenges facing asylum seeker pastoral care

The Church faces several key challenges in delivering pastoral care to people on the move, Cardinal Stephen Hamao, President of the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Itinerant People will tell a conference in Sydney today.

CLICK HERECardinal Hamao is delivering the keynote address at the National Conference on Pastoral Care in a Culturally Diverse Australia.

The conference will run for two days at Randwick Racecourse and will feature a range of speakers in the field of pastoral care for migrants. It will also feature speeches from the Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs John Cobb and Labor's immigration spokesman Tony Burke.

Cardinal Hamao's address will focus on the complexity of human mobility, including its causes and the role of the Church in helping to address both the causes and the results of such mobility.

He reasserts the Church's belief in the right to remain in one's homeland and then he explores the challenge of finding the right balance between the state's right to protect its borders and the right immigrate.

"The Church recognises the right of states to control their borders and the entry of persons in their territory - to guarantee security, basic human rights and freedoms - considering it in line with the protection of the common good," an extract from his speech says.

"This however, should not come in conflict with the right of people on the move to be treated always with the respect due to every human person."

Cardinal Hamao also calls for humane treatment of "irregular migrants", saying that protecting their rights "would be an important step forward in stopping migrant abuse and exploitation".

Severe immigration laws and restrictive immigration policies, including a limit to migrants' access to social services, have not discouraged international migration, but rather, they have helped to increase it, says.

Cardinal Hamao says the Church has a crucial role to play in providing welcome and solidarity to migrants, confirming that the Church "has always contemplated the image of Christ" in migrants.

Church faces challenges in delivering pastoral care to people on the move - Cardinal Stephen Hamao (Australian Catholic Bishops Conference 17/11/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Australian Migrant & Refugee Office
Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People

Cardinal Hamao to speak at major Sydney migration conference (CathNews 6/10/05)

Refugee appeal board long overdue, Canadian bishops tell government (Catholic News Agency 16/11/05)
Families of overseas prisoners find the going tough (catholicireland.net 16/11/05)

17 Nov 2005