Sunday 27th September 2020 was the World Day of Migrants and Refugees and Cardinal Vincent Nichols highlighted his concerns about the current situation.
The interview with the Cardinal starts at 35 minutes:
Sunday 27th September 2020 was the World Day of Migrants and Refugees and Cardinal Vincent Nichols highlighted his concerns about the current situation.
The interview with the Cardinal starts at 35 minutes:
Operation Noah and partner organisations hosted the first part of a webinar series on Catholic investment for an integral ecology on Tuesday, 22 September. The series is sponsored by Operation Noah, CAFOD, Global Catholic Climate Movement, the Catholic Impact Investing Collaborative, the Conference of Religious, Association of Provincial Bursars, Trocaire, National Justice & Peace Network and Justice & Peace Scotland.
The first webinar, entitled Fossil fuel divestment: Accelerating the clean energy transition, brought together Catholic organisations to learn more and share experiences of divesting from the fossil fuel industry and supporting a just recovery from Covid-19. Speakers included Fr Augusto Zampini, Dr Lorna Gold, Stephen Power SJ and Sr Susan Francois CSJP.
More than 200 participants from around the world attended, including provincials, bursars and other members of Catholic religious orders, diocesan financial trustees and lay people.
The second webinar in the series, on Wednesday 21 October, will focus on impact investing, exploring how Catholic organisations can make investments with positive environmental and social impacts.
Earlier this week, the Vatican’s first-ever set of comprehensive environmental guidelines, including an endorsement of fossil fuel divestment, were made available in English. The Vatican guidelines on Journeying Towards Care for Our Common Home: Five Years After Laudato Sì, include the following recommendation (on p.177-178): ‘Promote ethical, responsible, and integral criteria for invesment decision making, taking care not to support companies that harm human or social ecology (for example, through abortion or the arms trade), or environmental ecology (for example, through the use of fossil fuels)’.
More than 190 Catholic organisations around the world have now made commitments to divest from fossil fuels. In May 2020, 42 institutions (including 21 from the UK) announced their decision to divest from fossil fuels. The group included Jesuits in Britain, Sisters of St Joseph of Peace (UK) and the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton, which became the third Catholic diocese in England and Wales to divest.
Fr Augusto Zampini, Co-Secretary of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, provided the theological underpinnings for the Vatican’s recommendation decision to divest, framing the issue in the context of a just recovery from Covid-19. He said: “We need to divest from what is damaging and invest in what is not damaging, in what makes a positive social and environmental impact.’ He linked fossil fuel divestment to making resources available to finance renewable and circular sources of energy.”
Dr Lorna Gold, Vice Chair of the Global Catholic Climate Movement, shared how the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference divested from fossil fuels in 2018. She reminded participants that at this time of the global response to Covid-19, there is also a “waking up to the beauty of life which is the essence of an integral ecology, and translating it into hope filled action is what moving our capital or investment is all about.”
Stephen Power SJ, former Treasurer of Jesuits in Britain who manages the Jesuits’ ethical investment strategy, shared the practical steps taken by Jesuits in Britain in divesting from fossil fuels in February 2020. He highlighted the financial risk of investing in fossil fuels, as investors risk being left with “stranded assets”. He added: ‘It is important not to forget the prophetic [statement]… We need to keep bolstering ourselves with what Laudato Si’ helps us to remember… Pope Francis notes the climate being a common good belonging to all.”
Sr Susan Francois CSJP, Assistant Congregation Leader and Congregation Treasurer of the Sisters of St Joseph of Peace, shared how the UK region’s decision to divest was informed by the congregation’s charism. She said: “We are called to a conversion of heart and a change in behaviour. So our decision making must put sustainability of ecosystems before profit.’ She shared how this approach had also resulted in better financial performance.”
James Buchanan, Bright Now Campaign Manager at Operation Noah shared key findings of the report Church investments in major oil companies: Paris compliant or Paris defiant? He highlighted that major oil companies are continuing to explore for new reserves of fossil fuels, despite the vast majority of known reserves needing to remain in the ground, as Pope Francis highlighted to oil company CEOs in 2018.
Operation Noah and the Global Catholic Climate Movement invited Catholic religious orders and dioceses to join the next global divestment announcement for faith organisations in November 2020.
The webinar is available to watch again and can be viewed here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=XoSWjJQMnjU
Webinar Part 2: Investment for a green recovery: Innovation in impact investing takes place on Wednesday 21 October.
Today we celebrate the World Day of Migrants and Refugees. To mark the day, Bishop Paul McAleenan was joined in a discussion covering the current challenges facing refugees in the UK, Europe and around the world in light of the Pope’s message.
Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales – full details on World Day of Migrants and Refugees
By Barbara Kentish, Westminster Justice & Peace Commission Lead on Refugees and Migrants
Five of us, obeying government guidelines on numbers, delivered our letter and petition as promised, to the French Embassy this morning. Pat Gaffney from Pax Christi, Fr Dominic Robinson SJ from Justice and Peace, Brother Johannes from London Catholic Worker, Fr Joe Ryan from West Green Tottenham parish and myself took the hundreds of signatures and our letter asking for French-British collaboration for a humanitarian outcome to the small-boat Channel crossings. We succeeded in handing it over to officials at the French Embassy in leafy Knightsbridge and had a pleasant walk across the park to the Home Office in Marsham Street. Here we found a very closed door. The head security officer told us, after he had investigated, that delivering petitions could only be done if accompanied by a solicitor! We had emailed earlier in the week, with copy of our letter, but this was not enough: you need your solicitor to go along too, so after a friendly chat with the security man, we beat a retreat. Rather like the rules on COVID 19, the UK Home Office can be extremely unpredictable. We will make an appointment of course, but this could be a long wait!
There is still time to sign the petition until we get an appointment with Ms Priti Patel’s elusive staff!
Meanwhile, our friends on the other side of the Channel in Calais demonstrate for human rights in their city today (Saturday, 26 September.) We wish them well, and pray that they will be heard as they claim not only rights for migrants, but also for themselves, so they don’t pick up the infections.
Fr Dominic Robinson SJ, Parish Priest of Farm Street and Chair of the Justice and Peace Commission said, “During the pandemic Central London Catholic Churches Homeless Services have worked with other faith groups, agencies, hospitality businesses and Westminster City Council to feed and provide showers, clothing and human care for some 300 homeless left on the streets of London.”
Colette Joyce, Co-ordinator of the Justice and Peace Commission, commented, “We are very concerned that, while there was a real success story at the beginning of lockdown with about 90% of homeless people given a temporary hotel place, as this crisis continues to unfold, we are witnessing more and more new destitute on the streets who are losing jobs, livelihoods and homes as a direct result of the pandemic. With night shelters closed, day centres and public services operating greatly reduced services, we are seeing the beginnings of a new underclass who, through no fault of their own, find themselves without a safety net in their hour of need.”
Fr Dominic added, “With the lifting of the ban on evictions from rented property, the end of the furlough scheme, and no move from national government on giving a reprieve to those with no recourse to public funds, the numbers of homeless on the streets and on the fragile line between just managing and destitution will get worse and worse. It promises to be a huge humanitarian crisis on a grand scale. Everybody wants to end rough sleeping forever – homeless agencies, faith groups, local authorities – and the united effort over the summer has shown we can work well together and find solutions.”
Charities, such as Shelter, have taken steps this week to update their services with advice and guidance for those who now face eviction or have become newly homeless, but the support available is limited.
The Jesuit Refugee Service is calling attention, in particular, to the plight of thousands of people recently refused asylum who are now facing evictions from Home Office accommodation (as reported in The Guardian on 19/08/20). Evictions were paused in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Evictions recommence at the same time as the government is discussing fresh lockdown measures due to a rise in COVID-19 cases.
Sarah Teather, JRS UK’s director, said: “Manufactured homelessness should never be considered an acceptable tool of immigration enforcement, and it is deeply troubling that anyone should face renewed homelessness in the middle of a global pandemic.”
With the possibility of a second lockdown looming in some form, we continue to call for a temporary reprieve for the duration of the pandemic from the no recourse to public funds rules so that Councils, housing associations and charities can respond to all those who present as homeless. We further urge an immediate halt to the evictions of asylum seekers from hostels who have nowhere else to go. The ban on evictions of other tenants should be reinstated immediately in the event of any increase of pandemic measures. With Citizens UK, we ask those with the power to do so to provide these concessions and to avert a further crisis which will overwhelm all who want to help.
Everyone in society deserves to be treated with dignity and respect and we need to put policies in place so that together we can ensure this.
Bishop Paul McAleenan visited Dover on Tuesday to meet with some of those working to help people who have arrived there to claim asylum. The gathering was organised by Seeking Sanctuary and hosted by the parish priest, Fr Jeff Cridland.
A TV team preparing for a coming episode of ‘Songs of Praise’ was also in Dover on the same day. Deb Barry posted the following reflection on the Care4Humanity’ Facebook page.
Bishop Paul is the Catholic bishop who leads on migration issues for fellow bishops in England and Wales wanted to meet with the organisations working with refugees. Care4humanity was asked to participate in the discussion groups, along with other local faith and community leaders, representatives from the Anglican diocese of Canterbruy, Seeking Sanctuary, KRAN and Samphire (organisations supporting refugees in Kent).
Key messages that everyone agreed on today included the need to remember that each of these refugees is an individual, they have an identity and their own unique story. Youth can play a really instrumental role in humanitarian work and advocacy, they are our future leaders and can be mobilized now to help refugees in so many ways and be a real example of peace and acceptance. Refugee work continues to be a global issue and we need to work across countries, faiths, governments, civil society and ethnicity, only as we come together in peace and a desire to truly help each other, can we find lasting solutions.
At the conclusion of the meetings, we then went down to Dover promenade where we met with the BBC Songs of Praise crew. We stood by the memorials to those who had lost their lives while making that crossing from France to the UK in order to seek sanctuary. The Bishop then said a prayer at the memorial and reminded all of us of the importance of each of these people’s lives. He prayed that people would be able to understand and assist those who have journeyed for a new and better life. He also prayed for all those who help, the policy makers and the opinion formers.
It was lovely to be able to stand together today, technology has allowed us to still operate during this time, but seeing so many people social distancing and standing in a circle today was a great strength.
We are excited at Care4Humanity to continue to work with so many different groups of people and stand together in peace to bring change.
The programme that includes the material filmed in Dover is scheduled to be aired on Songs of Praise on 11th October 2020 in the UK
Bishop McAleenan gave us this short reflection and prayer.
My name’s Bishop Paul McAleenan and I’m responsible for migrants and refugees for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.
Yesterday was 15 September, the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows – Mary who stood beneath the Cross as her son was dying. The Cross of Jesus and Our Lady of Sorrows always go together.
Here in Dover, it has been most edifying to meet those who, like Our Blessed Lady, have thrown in their lot with the refugees and are willing to support them, speak on their behalf and advocate for their cause.
On this beautiful afternoon, I met so many people who spoke movingly about their work and their intention to continue to spread the message that it’s so necessary for us to support migrants and refugees. Through their work, meeting with refugees, they have discovered the truth – that they are God’s children. We are all brothers and sisters in Jesus and we support them.
Let us pray.
We pray for volunteers who work for refugees here in the Dover area and in northern France, and for those who go to the rescue of those in danger.
We pray for policy-makers and opinion-formers.
May they provide a system whereby no-one needs to risk their lives in the quest for safety and freedom.
This prayer we make through Christ Our Lord who stretched out His hand to Peter on the Sea of Galilee and gives us the will to do likewise on the English coast.
I thank you for joining me in this reflection and I ask you to continue to pray for migrants and refugees – and to remind you that on 27 September it’s the World Day of Prayer for Migrants and Refugees.
Bishop Paul McAleenan will celebrate the World Refugee Day Mass at Westminster Cathedral on the 27th of September, 6pm. It will also be live streamed at www.westminstercathedral.org.uk
Edward de Quay, Project Manager for the Bishops’ Conference Environmental Advisory Group, looks at how Catholics in England and Wales have responded to Laudato Si’ and how each of us can be part of that response.
This article, written by Edward De Quay, first appearing in The Pastoral Review in May 2020 and re-circulated by the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales during the Season of Creation in September 2020, focuses on the legacy of Laudato Si’ in England and Wales.
To those keenly waiting for the publication of Laudato Si’ (LS) the text was a relief. Led by Scripture and grounded in science, it identified care for creation as key to our faith, recognising that “science and religion, with their distinctive approaches to understanding reality, can enter into an intense dialogue fruitful for both” (LS 62). By accepting the signs of the times and understanding them through the lens of our faith, Pope Francis presented a powerful case to care for our common home.
Equally important was his insight that the ecological crisis we face is a human one; that climate change is a symptom of a problem that cannot be solved without addressing the root cause, which is our way of living and thinking and interacting with the world: “The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life” (LS 2). Drawing on the teaching of Pope St John Paul II, we are asked to embark on the journey of a “profound interior conversion”, leading to an “ecological conversion” (LS 217).
So far so good. Laudato Si’ was also a call to action, to wake up to climate change and understand that the cry of the poor – which we have always prided ourselves on being responsive to – is intertwined with the cry of the earth, which has been perhaps more difficult to identify. This article will focus on the practical imprint the document has made on the Catholic Church in England and Wales over the past five years.
Laudato Si’ is incredibly challenging at a personal level, and this has been evident in the difficulty many have found in engaging friends, family and parishes in its themes. In 2017 the Bishops’ Conference convened an Environmental Advisory Group, and while progress has been made in the following three years under the guidance of Bishop John Arnold, there is still a mountain to climb.
In principle, we are well poised to be agents for change. Globally there are 1.3 billion baptised Catholics, or 17.7 per cent of the world population. This is also, perhaps, a rare topic where we are in agreement with a prevailing societal view – that climate change is a fundamental problem to be addressed urgently. More than this, we have been ahead of the times in terms of our teaching.
In 1971, Pope Paul VI noted in his apostolic letter Octoagesima Adveniens: “Man is suddenly becoming aware that by an ill-considered exploitation of nature he risks destroying it and becoming in his turn the victim of this degradation.” Pope St John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, too, were outspoken on the topic. Pope Francis was able to bring together the threads of his predecessors into the tapestry of Laudato Si’, developing their understanding of care for creation and human development being two sides of the same coin, and criticising the consumerist mentality which fails to acknowledge this reality. There is no need to leave this topic to David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg. Catholics have a rich understanding of how care for our common home contributes to a life lived well. The science is important, but it’s only half the conversation.
On top of this, Pope Francis is a well-liked diplomat, and the political significance of Laudato Si’ should not be understated. The document was released, it is safe to assume, deliberately in the run-up to the UN Conference on Climate Change (COP21) in Paris in 2015, where it was acknowledged as influential and inspirational to the delegates. Archbishop Bernardito Auza, then Apostolic Nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, described how “not only had practically every delegate heard of Laudato Si’; Pope Francis was cited by more than thirty Heads of State or Government in their Interventions at the Plenary Session”. The resulting ‘Paris Agreement’ was a milestone in climate diplomacy, and is due to come into force when the UK hosts the twenty-sixth conference in Glasgow in November 2020.
Nationally too, Laudato Si’ has been influential. In 2018, the then secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Michael Gove, gave the Theos annual lecture on the environment, heavily referencing Laudato Si’, which he considers “remarkable for the depth of thought which goes into addressing the twin challenges of climate and social justice, for considering in depth both the science and theology of climate change, and for exploring the spiritual, ethical and religious dimensions of one of the greatest challenges facing the world”. He went on to state that “the Pope’s solutions in Laudato Si’ are clear and sensible, and ones on which I think we can all agree”.
We have another incentive to act – particularly in England and Wales. Quoting the bishops of Bolivia, Pope Francis states that “the countries which have benefited from a high degree of industrialization, at the cost of enormous emissions of greenhouse gases, have a greater responsibility for providing a solution to the problems they have caused” (LS 170). The Prime Minister has in fact committed us to this, acknowledging in his speech to launch COP26 that as we were first to industrialise, it is proper that we are the first major economy to meet net-zero by 2050.
Our own Bishops renewed their commitment to care for creation in 2019, with the written statement Guardians of God’s Creation, in which they call for the development of a “Christian spirituality of ecology” which begins in “personal and family life”. Perhaps this appears to be passing the buck, but the “interior conversion” needed to tackle the ecological crisis is a personal responsibility for everyone. Furthermore, it is in the schools that we see perhaps the most engaged action, where, at primary level at least, students can explore the issue outside of grown up concepts like ‘realistic expectations’, ‘economic progress’ or ‘funding constraints’. “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 19.14). Like children, we should ask “why?” more, questioning the prevailing logic of the world and looking for truth and beauty. In a recent homily, Pope Francis reflected on the ‘apostasy of Solomon’ passage in the first book of Kings, saying that “for us this slippery slide in life is directed toward worldliness. This is the grave sin: ‘Everyone is doing it. Don’t worry about it; obviously it’s not ideal, but…’ We justify ourselves with these words, at the price of losing our faithfulness to the one and only God.” This ‘Christian spirituality of ecology’, both the key and biggest obstacle to engaging in the ecological crisis, must start in personal and family life, inspired by bold leadership.
In Guardians of God’s Creation, the Bishops committed themselves and invited their people to engage in this urgent challenge, “so that together we show leadership by our actions”, looking to “avoid the worst consequences of this ecological crisis by engaging now and over the next decade on this ‘long path to renewal’”. Some dioceses already have environmental policies in place, such as Middlesbrough and Hexham and Newcastle, and others have committed their dioceses to action through pastoral letters and Diocese-wide events.
As far back as 2007, Clifton Diocese organised a year-long series of events exploring our relationship to the natural world through the eyes of faith, under the title ‘The Sound of Many Waters’. CAFOD, too, have been running their livesimply award to celebrate parishes living simply, sustainably and in solidarity with the poorest since 2006. In Lent 2019, Bishop John Arnold issued a pastoral letter in which he challenged every parish to help “make the Diocese of Salford a flagship for ways to heal and care for our common home”, as well as announcing the development of a ‘Laudato Si’ Centre’ in the grounds of Wardley Hall. In Advent 2019, Bishop Richard Moth issued a similar challenge to his Diocese of Arundel and Brighton, urging it to “wake up” to our ecological crisis, as well as launching the ‘Journey to 2030’ project. Run by Catholic youth in the Diocese, it commits to a decade of action, and provides a simple ‘getting started guide’ for parishes at journeyto2030.org.
One way the Bishops’ Conference has indicated the importance of engaging with this topic is through the commissioning of two films produced by Catholic Faith Exploration (CaFE). Global Healing (2018) and Global Caring (2019) are TV-quality films engaging in the spirituality and practicalities of Laudato Si’, in a format designed to promote discussion and community-building in a parish setting. The Jesuits in Britain have also taken on the educational challenge, launching the Laudato Si’ Research Institute at Campion Hall, Oxford and an MA in Theology, Ecology and Ethics at Roehampton University last year.
Another national response has been the work done by the Catholic Church’s energy procurement group, Inter-diocesan Fuel Management (IFM), which supplies 2,800 churches with green electricity and gas, including landmarks such as Westminster, Nottingham and Plymouth Cathedrals. This contract is also available to Catholic schools, institutions and religious orders. The cost is kept down by buying energy together, so the more buildings we have on the scheme the better it becomes. Two dioceses, Lancaster and Middlesbrough, and several religious orders have also gone one stage further by announcing that their investment portfolios will no longer include fossil fuel companies.
There are many inspiring stories from schools and parishes across England and Wales, which deserve to be told. It is important to celebrate what we do achieve, be this improving recycling rates, insulating our churches and schools better or generating greener energy, opening allotments, banning plastics from parish activities, holding film and information nights and promoting eco-friendly behaviours, all while building a sense of community in the parish. All of this happens and happens well.
To return to the idea of asking “why?” more often, this can be as grand as challenging economic systems and as simple as looking at the contents of your own shopping basket. Often, there are no definitive answers, and the best approach is to allow those that have the skills and the time to engage in the issue and to come up with a locally workable solution. Even simple question like “why do we buy cut flowers?” could lead to interesting conversations. Perhaps this will come about by looking at what the parish buys, where it comes from, how it was traded, and whether better, more ethical, sustainable alternatives are available. Perhaps not every parish will come up with the same solution, but by engaging in the problem we learn more about the issues and our responsibilities as Christians to care for our neighbour.
This problem of unethical sourcing driven by the ‘culture of consumerism’ is criticised by Pope Francis in Laudato Si’ and returned to in his recent apostolic exhortation Querida Amazonia (QA), or ‘Beloved Amazonia’, a region of the world directly affected by our consumerist behaviour. “The globalized economy shamelessly damages human, social and cultural richness” (QA 39). “The land has blood, and it is bleeding; the multinationals have cut the veins of our mother earth” (QA 42). Speaking at a press conference to launch the document, Bishop John Arnold added that “the environmental questions are enormous because what they’ve been doing in the Amazon is not sustainable. The use of fossil fuels and the mining cannot be sustained and is doing dreadful damage. We’ve got to be aware of our role in that, that so many of the products of the Amazon are consumed by us, and are not even for the benefit of the people of that region.”
Changing our consumer habits helps bring pressure on those who wield political, economic and social power. Pope Francis argues that “this is what consumer movements accomplish by boycotting certain products. They prove successful in changing the way businesses operate, forcing them to consider their environmental footprint and their patterns of production. When social pressure affects their earnings, businesses clearly have to find ways to produce differently. This shows us the great need for a sense of social responsibility on the part of consumers. Purchasing is always a moral – and not simply economic – act” (LS 206).
Alongside our individual and community efforts, it is right that we are active politically. CAFOD have taken Laudato Si’ to heart, concentrating effort through their ‘Our Common Home’ campaign. A current action is a petition to the Prime Minister addressing issues raised in Querida Amazonia around support for local, sustainable agriculture and clean energy. This campaign recognises that it is the poorest and most vulnerable who pay the price of climate change, despite having done the least to cause the problems. CAFOD is also active in interfaith and wider society action, such as the ‘Time is Now’ lobby last June, where over 380 members of parliament came out to talk to their constituents about climate change. The National Justice and Peace Network is also focusing on ecology at their annual conference this June, entitled ‘2020 vision – Action for Life on Earth’.
This is another important part of asking “why?” like children and being awake to the ways our society affects our global neighbours. In the run-up to COP26, it is especially important to make our voices heard, and Pope Francis encourages us to do this:
“For this reason, all of us should insist on the urgent need to establish a legal framework which can set clear boundaries and ensure the protection of ecosystems … otherwise, the new power structures based on the techno-economic paradigm may overwhelm not only our politics, but also freedom and justice” (QA 52).
When we stand back and look at the big picture, as illustrated by this entirely insufficient overview, it is of a church in motion. There is something everyone can do to encourage this ‘profound interior conversion’, no matter how small, as there is a “nobility in the duty to care for creation through little daily actions, and it is wonderful how education can bring about real changes in lifestyle.” (LS 211)
To conclude and re-emphasise, this article lists a tiny fragment of the Church’s efforts both from organisations and individuals. Every parishioner’s efforts build up the collective action of the Church.
You can download this article as it appeared in The Pastoral Review.
“Many long-standing Catholic members of The East London Citizens Organisation (TELCO) feature in a new film released this week, marking the eighth anniversary of London hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Staff and pupils from St Antony’s Primary School, Newham, St Bonaventure’s School, Forest Gate and St Stephen’s Manor Park, [in the Diocese of Brentwood], are among those highlighting the broken promises made in 2005, and call on policymakers to honour the pledges they made and work with them for a new deal on the Olympic Park.”
Full article: Independent Catholic News
This powerful short film also addresses the roots of the ‘affordable’ housing crisis and looks at the change of mindset that will be required to prioritise houses as homes for people rather than sources of profit.
The awarding of the 2012 Games to London promised much for communities but has not yet delivered. Now that the Tokyo Games have been pushed forward to 2021, we have given another year to reflect on the legacy of our own Games and another opportunity to create a ‘new normal’ as we ‘build back better’ following our pandemic lockdown experience.
What lessons have we learnt?
Housing developing is resuming again around the Olympic site, as elsewhere in London and the rest of the UK, so there has never been time to campaign for the homes we truly need.
Report from Independent Catholic News
Peace campaigners stood in the Piazza outside Westminster Cathedral on Sunday for the annual vigil commemorating those who died when the second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki killing about 80,000 people. A vigil was also held outside the Cathedral on Thursday 6 August, marking the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima which left 146,000 dead.
Pat Gaffney, former general secretary of Pax Christi, told ICN: “It was good to be with members of Pax Christi and Westminster J&P for the annual Nagasaki vigil outside Westminster Cathedral. To witness to the horror and suffering inflicted on that city was especially important this year, the 75 anniversary.
“Our messages were clearly presented in a safely distanced way to those waiting to attend the two Masses in the Cathedral. Our call and prayer were for the abolition of nuclear weapons with the practical ask to our own Government to become a signatory to the Treaty on the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons.”
Find out more about Pax Christi here: https://paxchristi.org.uk/