After the attacks at the airport and metro in Brussels, the city that represents the heart of Europe, we express our total rejection of all forms of violence. We are committed to building a culture of acceptance without naivety, whilst opposing discrimination which simply takes advantage of the barbarity of terrorism in many parts of Europe. Terrorism is the exploitation of the individual and of God living in the person. We support the words of Cardinal Erdo, President of the Council of Episcopal Conferences of Europe: "At this time of distress we call on all people of good will not to be overcome by fear but to continue to pray for peace in Europe, in the Middle East and around the world." Pope Francis reminds us in Evangelii Gaudium: "Until exclusion and inequality are reversed within a society and between different peoples it will be impossible to eradicate violence." We are committed as Christian workers in Europe to continue working towards overcoming exclusion and inequality, relying on dialogue and the common good and avoiding positions of hatred and intolerance towards migrants. We express our closeness and solidarity with the families of the victims of these horrible attacks. Manolo Copé Coordinator European Movement of Christian Workers http://mtceurope.org/en/news-from-europe/45-nota-del-coordinador-del-mtce-ante-los-atentados-de-bruselas-2
The ECWM co-ordinates 20 organisations from 15 countries of the European Union (EU) and Switzerland. It totally rejects the draft agreement reached between the EU and Turkey on refugees. This agreement is a serious step backwards for human rights. The countries of the EU cannot sign an agreement with Turkey which is contrary to International Law. This agreement violates International and European Conventions ratified by Member States which expressly prohibits the return of persons who are subject to persecution or victims of war. We can easily forget that behind the increase in migration there is always the inhumanity of an unjust economic system in which profit prevails over the dignity of the human person and the common good. We cannot build a fortress Europe and refuse to welcome the stranger. The challenge remains to build a Europe of the people as well as an economic system which serves the needs of everyone and in particular the most vulnerable. The European Council taking place on 17th & 18th March 2016 is crucial and we, the ECWM, are adamant that we do not want a European Union that may violate human rights and International Laws. We must show our representatives that many organisations and individuals do not agree with this draft agreement and we call upon all people of good will to express their rejection of this decision. This refugee crisis is a challenge for all of Europe. How does the Christian heritage of the Continent meet this challenge and be true to the words of the Gospel “I was a stranger and you welcomed me”. The ECWM renews our commitment to work for a just and sustainable society in Europe as well as the rest of the world. We are at one with the words of Pope Francis, who declared “It is time to build together a Europe that does not focus entirely on the economy but acknowledges the sacredness of the human person”. Finally, we remember the words that Jesus Christ left us in His Gospel “Truly, I say to you whenever you did this to these little ones who are my brothers and sisters you did it to me” (Mt 25:40).
The Permanent Commission of the HOAC expresses its support for the social action organisations of the Church and expresses its rejection of the announced agreement between the European Union and Turkey which is a major setback for human rights. The HOAC does not want to be indifferent to the suffering of thousands of people who are fleeing from war, conflict, and religious persecution and demands that Europe help and welcomes them. We are united with the ministers of the church who have expressed their sorrow and distress at the latest humanitarian tragedies affecting migrants and refugees. We can easily forget that behind the increase in migration, there is always the inhumanity of an unjust economic system in which profit prevails over the dignity of the human person and the common good; as well as the violence, persecution, hunger and destruction generated by the war. We think that in the European Union the duty of welcoming the stranger, and caring for those who are at risk of losing their lives is sadly missing. We have witnessed the unacceptable spectacle of the bargaining and 'auction of quotas' by European Governments. There is a great deal of generosity, solidarity and humanitarian action on the part of individuals, groups and institutions, but, as a whole, the reaction of European societies is far from being what it should be. Therefore, we join the Spanish Commission for the Support of Refugees (CEAR) in the denunciation of this agreement, which represents a major setback for human rights. Commenting on the collective expulsions contained in this agreement, CEAR states that it is «contrary to international law. The evaluation of an application for asylum must be individual and also cannot be based solely on nationality, since it would be discriminatory.» https://www.cear.es/category/noticias/
As some politicians make disparaging remarks about migrants arriving in Western Europe, we are reminded that welcoming the Stranger is a fundamental tenet of our faith. Thousands of our fellow human beings are fleeing their homelands because of war, famine and oppression. Many of them make it as far as Northern France and we are familiar with the news coverage of the jungle in Calais.
Many members of our sister movement in the ACO France (Action Catholique Ouvrière) are welcoming the stranger into their neighbourhoods of Calais and Dunkirk. Eve Marie Dubiez who is a close friend of the MCW has sent us regular information about the treatment of refugees in Northern France. There is some evidence of human traffickers, some of who come from Britain who control the camps and charge refugees rent for shelter there. She says its type of “mafia” who impose the law of the jungle as European Governments are doing little. She wrote to us a few days ago to say that things are very tense in both camps due to the action of the Police and the lack of facilities for eating and showering.
She also said that there are now more volunteers there than there is accommodation for them to stay. However she informed us of ‘Aid Box Convey’ based in Bristol that now appears to be coordinating aid and voluteers to support refugees in the North of France. Their web site can be found at: www.aidboxconvoy.co.uk its current focus is on supplying the new camp in Dunkirk with welcome boxes. We've also recently set up a list on Amazon to ease the process of contributing to the boxes. The site says:
The MCW joined representatives from 12 European Movements including those from Switzerland, Spain, Germany, South Tyrol, Austria, Czech Republic, Belgium, Portugal and France for a seminar in Strasbourg from the 27-30 October, to examine the theme of ‘Dignified work in solidarity economy’.
The Movements were able to work together accepting their diversity but also reinforcing their communality in proclaiming the good news of the gospel to workers across Europe and indeed at a global level.
How do we make ends meet in terms of income and expenditure? Is there anything left over at the end of the week or month? We all have different circumstances and levels of income and spending vary widely. Some manage comfortably whilst others have more of a struggle. Sadly, the number of people in the latter category is growing. Spending cuts over the last 6 years have led to reduced levels of front-line services and falling incomes.
It is also a sad fact that the poorer you are the more you are affected by decisions of this sort. There is also a double whammy in that those with less means always pay more for credit and other basic necessities. It is estimated that at least 15% of the adult population of Britain find themselves in a situation where their regular income does not cover their necessary expenditure. How do they bridge the gap? Most have no choice but to borrow small amounts of money over short periods of time. By doing this they can manage to survive, but at what cost to themselves & their purse?
A short-term loan from a typical doorstep lender is £500 borrowed over 6 months or 26 weeks. This costs the borrower £874.90 meaning they repay £33.65 each week for 26 weeks which represents an interest rate of 688.39% APR.
Our lives today and the issues that affect them appear so complicated and complex which makes the past, in retrospect, appear simple and
straightforward. We rely on the news from the TV or radio or newspapers. Most of us may find ourselves in a rut of watching, listening or reading the same ones week in, week out. For others the social media is their window on the world to find out what is happening on an hourly or even minute by minute basis. How then can we unearth what other viewpoints might exist; what additional views might shed a new light on the issue in question to assist us in developing or forming a different perception from one already gleaned?
In our world leadership is needed more than ever. Not just in Parliament or on the TV but in everyday circumstances, in our homes, at work and in the community.
The lack of leadership in everyday situations is quite marked. Often people’s opinions are swayed by the media or by those with the loudest voices. And when leadership is evident, it often comes from those who have had opportunities by virtue or their background, schooling and wealth.
Those with more ordinary backgrounds who often lack confidence need to be encouraged, assisted, trained and sustained in being leaders in their lives. This is exactly what the MCW does best.
As someone once said “leaders don’t grow on trees”, they have to be called and formed. This takes resources which means money, equipment, people, experience, skill and expertise.
It was with much sadness that I received the news that our friend and our brother had left us, but that’s normal. Yet, when I think of him and his life it is also a moment of joy. He was a great man who in spite of his small stature had a big heart for working men and women, and for all those who are victims of an unjust society.
I knew Jean-Marie for more than 30 years, when as chaplain to the World Movement of Christian Workers (WMCW) he came to England to help us develop our Movement and above all how we could improve the review of life. When Jean-Marie participated in a review of life with English activists, he would always listen attentively to what was being said and at the end of the sharing in a very humble way he would give his little reflection about what he had heard. Despite all the difficulties experienced by the activists Jean-Marie had the capacity to see the signs of hope, which are present in all the collective struggles and actions carried out for justice. Jean-Marie would always say, look here in this situation or in this action, ......
[A short extract from the presentation given at the World Council, Nantes]
In a recent programme of the Simpsons, Homer picks up a book looks carefully through it and angrily throws it aside saying: “That book has no answers!” The book is the bible and in many ways he is right. The bible has no simple answers to our concerns about modern migration. However reading the scriptures in the present context of injustice, alienation, violence, fear and oppression within the experience of migration will provide us with provocation to thought and action. This, in the end, is the point of the story of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This in the end is the point of our Movements. They provoke us to see the world differently and to act to make that difference real.