The First Minister of Scotland
The Right Honourable Nicola Sturgeon
10 September 2015
Dear First Minister,
Earlier this month Pope Francis called upon every Catholic parish community in Europe to offer support to refugee families currently fleeing to our continent from the Middle East. He said. “In front of the tragedy of the tens of thousands of refugees escaping death by war or hunger on the path towards the hope of life the Gospel calls us, asks us to be ‘neighbours’ of the smallest and most abandoned.”
In the days since, the UK Government has unveiled its plan to accept up to 20,000 refugees from Syria over the next five years and I note that your government is fully committed to cooperating with the UK authorities In whatever action needs to be taken to help alleviate this humanitarian crisis.
In support of your response and inspired by Pope Francis, I write to offer the assistance of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland in any plans that may emerge in the months to come to support and assist the new arrivals to our country. Many of our parishioners hail from families with a history of fleeing conflict and poverty in the 19th and 20th centuries to find a new home in Scotland. In the subsequent decades we have established an effective network of parishes that exist to promote the Christian faith and thus contribute to the common good
I have been asked by the Bishops to place our parish resources at the service of those 21st century newcomers who find themselves in greatest need. Caritas Christi urget nos; The love of Christ compels us (2 Cor 5:14).
With every good wish I am,
+Philip Tartaglia, Archbishop of Glasgow
President of the Bishops’’ Conference of Scotland