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Why the leader of Britain's Catholics thinks immigration is a good thing for Britain

Wednesday, 08 July 2015

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, spiritual leader of more than four million Catholics in England and Wales, said the Catholic Church was "enormously enriched" by the many thousands of Catholics coming to these shores as migrants.

"Every parish that I go to certainly in this diocese has people from at least 20 different nationalities. The faith is a huge point of social cohesion that people from different strata in society and different cultural backgrounds come together," he said.

Asked if the effects of immigration were stripped away whether the Catholic Church in England and Wales would show a significant decline, Cardinal Nichols said: "Stripping out immigration, then we're talking about some world that isn't Britain. You cannot talk about this city stripped of immigration because this city is an international city."

To strip out immigration from the equation was to talk about a place that doesn't exist.

"It's a false premise to begin to say, well let's just talk about the indigenous British who are the Catholics. We are a mixed race. We are an island. People arrive here from all over the world. They bring different talents in readiness. I could take you to the middle of Oxfordshire, very English, and show you a Catholic church which was built 40 years ago by Irish men who were working on the roads. Now do I pull that church down? Is that an expression of immigrant faith? So you can't separate them. We have to take the reality of Catholic life as it is today."

The Cardinal, who has just joined Twitter, said immigrant Catholics brought huge energy to the UK. "There are particular challenges with a weary secularised western culture. What is happening is that the energy of Christians in particular coming to a wearied western secularised culture is giving it new hope, certainly in the life of the Christian faith; new resilience and enthusiasm. It rubs off on us, it rubs off on us weary Westerners. We should take great heart from the fact that we're discovering again under that impetus some of our own wellsprings of faith."

He was speaking at a press conference to launch Proclaim '15, a national Catholic evangelisation initiative taking place in Birmingham, his former Archdiocese, this weekend.

HTB's Nicky Gumbel, one of the country's leading evangelical Christian leaders, is among the speakers at Proclaim. The event is inspired by the writing and example of Pope Francis, and will bring together an extraordinary group of speakers and workshop leaders on July 11. There will be 21 bishops and more than 900 other delegates, representing every diocese in England and Wales.

Source: Christian Today

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