Friday, February 18, 2011
Is the Church being cruel?
The Labour government placed various restrictions on asylum seekers, not only can they not work but they also can't marry.
Michael has been here six years, he was a political activist. After a year in detection and "questioning" he was eventually released and escaped and came to this country. He is devout and was sustained by his faith through his time in prison.
Mary is from the same country, they knew one another as students, her father taught Michael. When Mary's father was arrested, in order to get him to talk they tortured her in front of him. She won't talk about what they did to her. She came to England about four years ago. She was frightened and came to live near Michael, they fell in love, they conceived a child. She comes to Mass daily. They want to marry. Mary is a daily communicant. Both families are devout, pregnancy outside marriage is shameful for them.
The State will not allow them to marry and although in every other way they are free to marry, because the State does not allow it, the Catholic Church in England and Wales excludes them from marriage.
Our government have stopped deporting asylum seekers to their homeland but is very slow to process asylum claims, it could ten years or never happen, but Mary and Michael have to live with the consequences. They can understand the State being cruel to them, they are used to that but the Church being complicit in that cruelty is something new.
Ultimately, do I have to persuade Mary and Michael that despite all they have been taught and all they feel in their guts, that living together as man a wife without the blessing of Our Mother is not sinful? They burn for one another, yet they also burn for the Lord, they are in the difficult position of having to choose between one another and the Lord, simply because the British government has decided to forbid people in their situation may not marry.
Pray for the many people in Mary and Michael's position.
Posted by Fr Ray Blake