Leading article: Salutary seasonal greetings

Share
Related Topics

If the Queen was, forgiveably, in retrospective mood, it was pleasing to hear some unusually up-to-date and pertinent sentiments from our Church leaders this season. And it was doubly pleasing that both Anglican and Roman Catholic Archbishops used the authority of their respective pulpits to challenge an easy popular consensus and chose to risk unpopularity by so doing.

The Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, spoke with passion and humanity about immigration and deplored the cold comfort that too often awaits newcomers in Britain, not just at the outset, but months, even years after they have ceased to be new arrivals. Speaking not a 15-minute walk from the train and bus stations where many new migrants arrive, in a part of the capital where migrants' first experience of Britain is too often a turned back from the natives, Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor was taking on a local, as well as a national, mood.

More to the point, however, he was also taking on a government and a political establishment that has sensed votes in a national mood that has hardened towards immigration, and has been scurrilously egged on by sections of the popular press.

At a time of year when Britain can seem especially closed commerce shut down, no public transport, and the majority of people embraced into family gatherings behind their own front doors Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor offered some uncomfortable truths.

"What concerns me at the moment," he said, "is our attitude as a nation to these many immigrants." Most come to our country "because they wish to have a better life and work so as to provide for their families". They had good reasons for wanting to enter Britain and they needed to be welcomed. Instead, they "simply feel excluded because they are outsiders".

The Archbishop was right on every count he raised. It was salutary to hear such plain speaking from a national figure, intruding as it did on the prevailing mood of complacent goodwill. We can only regret that so few political leaders have the courage and integrity to do the same. So busy do they seem to be, devising new ways of discouraging would-be migrants and deporting those already here, that they neglect to mention either the many benefits the new workers bring to Britain or the shabby way they may be treated by harsh officialdom or dubious landlords and employers.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, for his part, interjected into a typically erudite Christmas sermon a call for more attention to be paid to the environment and a sharp warning about the way in which human greed distorts and threatens the fragile balance of the Earth. Again, he was right. Again, he was making the sort of outspoken appeal heard all too infrequently from our politicians. This Christmas, those in secular power could have learnt much from paying attention in church.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Volunteer Trustee opportunities now available at The Society for Experimental Biology

Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Volunteer your expertise as Tr...

Early Years Educator

£68 - £73 per day + Competitive rates of pay based on experience: Randstad Edu...

Nursery Nurse

£69 - £73 per day + Competitive London rates of pay: Randstad Education Group:...

Primary KS1 NQTs required in Lambeth

£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A ceramic figure is the only thing remaining at the site of this destroyed home in Fredalba, California. The dry Santa Ana winds roll into Southern California from the upper Mojave Desert, setting off car alarms and starting wildfires  

Time for God to step in on climate change, Groucho Marx's answer to golf prejudice and education, the best method of birth control

Ellen E Jones
Residents of the Gravesham constituency are 10 times closer to what Peter Hain scorns as the “Westminster elite” than are those of Linlithgow and East Falkirk  

Will no one stop the march of localism?

Jonathan Meades
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam