Monday, September 14, 2015

Refugees: a Trad response

"The trouble is the refugees, they are flooding in, they will take over here soon,"

One of my Old Rite parishioners has signed up with the Refugee Council to open her house to refugees. She said, 'because I will soon be a refugee myself, seeking asylum in Heaven, if I don't welcome refugees here, I might not be welcomed there'.
That is traditional Catholic spirituality, tomorrow I will join the scheme the diocese is setting up, when I am dead I want asylum too.


Anonymous said...


I'm presuming the refugees you're considering sheltering are Catholic or Orthodox?

Fr Ray Blake said...

my first demand is that they are human

nickbris said...


Oakes Spalding said...

Serious question (not an attack): what if they intend to transform Britain into a Muslim country ruled by sharia law, or what if the effect of their presence is to help to do so?

Fr Ray Blake said...

Google 'ISIS' images

Oakes Spalding said...

With respect, I'm not sure what you mean.

Katharine B. said...

For I was fanatic and tyrannical, and you aided and abetted me...?

Physiocrat said...

Seeing the effects of a large scale Muslim immigration here in Sweden, I wonder if our grandchildren will thank us when they have to pay the price.

I think it would be more useful and prudent to be generous to the refugees who are trapped in Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon.

Anonymous said...


I'm not so sure St. Pius V or the scores of saints who died to drive Islam from Europe would agree.

What's left of Christendom is worth preserving. Fill it with millions of Moslems, and it will vanish as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow.

You and I have corresponded a little bit over the years, Father, and I hope you know I mean that without any kind of xenophobic hatred, but genuine concern.

Cosmos said...

There has to be a difference between what is sound public policy, even for a Christian nation, and what is the right thing for a priest or a Christian to do with confronted with the reality before him.

Should the UK have "turned the other cheek" when Hitler began bombing it? I don't think so. But that does not mean that an English priest could not show mercy to a German soldier? Of course not.

To be clear, I don't think Christians are required to allow Muslims to enter their country indiscriminately. If the goverenemnt determined that people from a certain country or idealogical background have no intention of preserving the host country's values, or actually threatened them, they should deny them entrance.

Nevertheless, I think Catholics have been pretty disarmed in this fight by the Church. We don't believe in the Kingship of Christ anymore. Now we believe in liberty, equality, and fraternity...I'm sorry, I mean religious freedom, ecumenicism, and dialogue. Those new values require us commit ourselves idealiogically to the silly belief that all worldviews--Christiainty, Structural Feminism, Marxism, Islam, Communism (with the exception of facism)--are equally compatible in a diverse, free society. But it's obviously not true.

Unknown said...

I just watched a video of refugees, hundreds of them, refusing Red Cross aid boxes because of the cross embellished on the boxes. Life is seldom as simple as we would like

Fr Ray Blake said...

Governments have a duty to protect their citizens, and we have a duty to be cautious but even caution has to give way to the overarching law of Charity. It is so easy to evade our duty.

Perhaps those of you who are over cautious should meet some of those who seek asylum and hear thir stories of rape and torture rather than relying on certain media outlets to form your consciences.

Oakes Spalding said...

With respect to a good priest, that last was a bit unfair. We all know that the refugee crisis encompasses a range of people. Not all are ISIS terrorists or welfare migrants looking for free money. But not all are persecuted victims either. To make things even more complicated, some Muslim migrants may be fleeing ISIS yet may have (or their kids may have) a good chance of providing at least soft support in the future for the Jihad in Britain.

But I don't think there's any question that the majority of refugees are Muslims who will end up (when push comes to shove) being allied with the bad guys. I say that based merely on the empirical evidence. How many Muslim marches in Europe have you seen for liberal values recently?

The Catholic has an obligation to aid the alien or the migrant (it's the converse of one of the four sins that cry out to Heaven) but not when he is holding a knife to your neck or threatening to. It's laudable perhaps to go the extra mile, to give the benefit of the doubt, to turn the other cheek--but only when it's one own life that's on the line. It's arguably not charity when the negative effects will mainly fall on others.

What (in my opinion) is the trad response? We will help you if you can provide at least some evidence in return that you will respect liberal and Christian values. Making your wife wear a burka and thumping an evil intolerant book isn't good enough.

Liam Ronan said...

"Forward, the Light Brigade!"
Was there a man dismay'd?
Not tho' the soldier knew
Someone had blunder'd:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred." The Charge of the Light Brigade - Tennyson

Forward the Light Brigade, Father. Have a care for the troops.

Victoria said...

Why aren't the very rich countries of the Middle East, who speak the same language and have the same religion as the refugees, provide assistance and make them welcome?

Unknown said...

Enable invaders, don't resist but actively collaborate, and shame others who don't.

The attitude which allowed first progressivism and now Islam, to overwhelm the West.


Fr Ray Blake said...

Forgive me, but that is plain stupid, look at the number of refugees Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey have taken. Do you not understand that ISIS is not only against Christians, Jews an other non-Muslims, do you not understand it regards Shia Moslems as not Muslim at all? Do you not understand that Saudi Arabia, our ally, has been backing ISIS, as it seems are other Sunni governments? Perhaps before you ask a question here you should equip yourself with a just a modicum of knowledge!

OS, I agree governments have a duty to protect and Christians have a duty to care.

Jacobi said...

Father, We must be clear about what is happening in Europe today. Be careful with language, with the term “refugees”. And be aware of our history. Just look at the photographs. The people pouring into Europe and in particular to Germany certainly contain some true refugees. But they are overwhelmingly young, fit, well financed, active, aggressive, people with a purpose. They are immigrants and contain a large percentage of religious migrants, that is Muslims, who fully intend in their various ways to take over Europe for Islam.

I am too old to have to deal with this. But I resent the fact that probably my children and certainly my grandchildren will be faced wit a very unpleasant conflict as and when these people decide in their various ways to establish the Caliphate in this part of the world. It is but a matter of time.

AIHSB, What we need in the Church now is the mentality of Urban II and the next “x” popes such is the danger that afflicts the Church.
Yes, by all means take in refugees but give priority to Christian refugees and those other sects persecuted by orthodox Islam.

An d if we have money to spare it can go to the growing number of Christian militias who are building up in the ancient Christian lands of the Middle East. They were highlighted in an excellent article in the Catholic Herald some two months ago?

Fr Ray Blake said...

Possibly you have met others but the young men I have met who are seeking asylum have families in the huge temporary camps on the borders, they are sent and financed by families to find a new home or at least work by those who cannot travel. Christians from Mosul for example know they can't ever return, and they can't stay in Turkey where many have fled, send someone to search Europe for a new home.
It seems logical to me to send a young man, possible educated in the West, rather than granny, especially if she has to walk from Greece to Germany, sleeping rough and possibly be beaten up or i9mprisoned, as in Hungary.
But as I say possibly you have met others, have you?

nickbris said...

Without immigrants this country could not function; hospitals would have to close,carehomes will be non-existent and fruit & veg will be left in the ground.

We are at the moment celebrating the Battle of Britain and it is not widely known that the majority of those pilots involved were foreigners.

This country has always been short of workers. Without starving out the Irish in the 19th century and getting them over here we would not even have Canals,Roads ,or Railways,

In the mid 20th century we had to beg the West Indians to come and help us out.

Within one generation these well educated refugees from countries that have been destroyed by our mischief will be our Doctors and Teachers

Sig Sønnesyn said...

Thank you so much for this, Father Blake. Your post and your responses to the comments to it provide a forceful reminder that our Faith needs to issue in loving care of everyone in need.

Adrian said...

Congratulations on this post, Father, and congratulations to your generous spirited parishioner also.

Gatepost productions said...

I’m sure the Good Samaritan wasn’t pursuing his own self-interests - a place in heaven - when he helped the man in need. I am not so sure, however, how he would have coped if he’d come across 5 – 10 million needing his help, for that is the potential position we face.

As ever, we talk in extremes: on the one hand the terrorist and on the other the good and faithful son. In reality we have no way of judging.

The UN be should be pouring international resources into the refugee camps in Jordan, Turkey etc; registering/vetting the occupants; relocating the people from the camps in numbers proportional to the size of the host countries taking them. If the refugees saw that there was a safe path to ‘freedom’ via the camps it would discourage this suicidal trek across sea and land which results in a first come first served situation.

As I see it that is what Britain is trying to do: putting money into the camps and accepting refugees from the camps first; it all gets buried in a media frenzy and party politics feeding a public moral panic.

araceli lorayes said...

I think priority should be given to Christian refugees. I suppose that sooner or later the conflict in the Middle East will be resolved, but this does not mean an end to persecution of Christians. The Christians have been persecuted for centuries, and this will continue even after the cessation of hostilities. We have an obligation to ensure that the descendants of the first Christians are not totally wiped out.

nickbris said...

The Hungarians have had a collective dose of amnesia; I can remember when thousands of them scrambled all over Europe for REFUGE after their revolution against the Soviet Union went wrong

Liam Ronan said...

At least the young Hungarian men and women put up a fight against the Soviets in 1956, a confrontation for which they willingly gave their lives.

How many troops has ISIS? How many many young men have fled rather than fight ISIS? Do the maths. The Hungarians did and summoned up the courage to resist the godless Soviet invaders.

Jacobi said...

Father, Thanks for you considered response.

If I was 28 with family,I would take them to you for safe keeping and then head back by whatever means to confront those attacking my religion and people. That would be Catholic.

Those at the French end of the tunnel, and those the Germans are allowing into Europe, overwhelmingly, have other intent. A very large percentage are heading for confrontation, but it is with us,Christian and secular Europe.

Islam is not a religion of peace.

Regarding Popes,legitimate topic since this is a Catholic site, we need Popes with the mentality of Urban to Martin ( 40 ) who for all their faults, recognised this. And they were Popes you know!!

Sadly, our coming generations will hqave to confront this.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Annie, That is just rude and insulting

Fr Ray Blake said...

Are you speaking from knowledge or ignorance? How many refugees have you put this question to?

I really do think you are speaking from a position of arrogance and ignorance.

I was speaking to a boy today who picked up a head after an ISIS attack on his village which was thwarted, it was his best friend. His family fled to Homs, he was there whilst it was being destroyed. ISIS stole anything of value the refugees were carrying, even people's drugs, they burnt prayer books and bibles Christians carried.
I think this boy would have fought but he didn't have anything to fight with, he was a young teacher. 7 months on he was obviously still traumatised, still having nightmares.

Liam Ronan said...

@ Father Blake,

I am not an overly sensitive type, but when you say to me:

"I really do think you are speaking from a position of arrogance and ignorance", it strikes me as a tad over the top. It is possible to feel and argue something passionately without resort to the ad hominem.

I stand by my original observation and the historical facts of which of themselves cast no aspersions on anyone.

Fr Ray Blake said...

I don't think that is quite what is meant by 'ad hominem', I do not know you so I can hardly address remarks to you. I was addressing my remarks to your rudeness.

What I think is ignorance is that you do not seem to have met a refugee, let alone spoken to one, yet you make derogatory remarks and what I think is arrogance, is to suggest they are unwilling to fight, and therefore suggest they are cowardly rather than simply unable to resist ISIs, which as is becoming clear is funded by our allies Saudi Arabia. The men I meet are from cowardly, so too the children who refuse to givve up the faith despite seeing their friends crucified and beheaded.

Liam Ronan said...

@ Father Blake,

I worked literally for years with South Vietnamese refugees ('boat people') while they were being first-settled in the United States and with Cuban refugees who were permitted to put to sea by Fidel Castro during his 'Mariel Boatlift' when, in addition to genuine refugees, Castro emptied his prisons and insane asylums much to the nightmare of a significant number of US citizens who later became victims of violent crimes committed by these refugees (improperly vetted by the authorities) both in my native Pennsylvania as well as across other communities across the US in which they were settled.

jstone said...

I believe there is a happy medium between Fr Blake's "take em' all" approach and other commentator's apprehensions, some of which are quite valid or perhaps need some additional evidence to corroborate. Of course, in this debate generally, there will be some silly scare mongering going on.

We all must do "our bit" with regards to refugees - Jesus would require this. But we also need some sober wisdom and reflection.

Fr Ray Blake said...

...And yet you accuse Syrian Christians of cowardice.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Nver have I said that! I say we must take who we can, though I do admire the Lebanese who have taken in a 1 million whilst they have population of 4 million.
The most practical way forward is mking secure zones that are economically desirable in Middle East. It is the reverse of 'bombing into th stone age' of the Bush/Blair axis that gave rise to ISIS in Iraq.

What I say is that we Christians must always be one the side of charity, even to the point of cruciffixion.

Sandpiper said...

Trust in the Lord. Do what you can to alleviate suffering when you are confronted with it. I do believe, however, that St Paul's (Christopher Wren's) and Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris are likely to become mosques. But taking the long view we know the Mohammadans will turn to Christ.

God bless us all!

Vincent said...

I am so sad. The comments here; how can anyone judge what is in the hearts of men? I am not in a position to house a family, but some of the comments here are appalling. I think of the twentieth century, where the Jews who were fleeing from Nazi oppression probably faced as much anger and hatred.

Of course we can't take them all. And of course we should be doing more, politically. But let's face it, unless any of the commenters here are seriously important in Whitehall, you aren't going to be in a position to do anything serious about the problem. ISIS are a terrible threat to everyone's security: is every person going to be a fifth columnist though? No. Oddly enough, most of them are people fleeing from rape and death. Many have nothing. How can anyone be so hard hearted as to say "oh, it's not our problem"?

There are people whose job it is to maintain internal security. Leave them to decide who's a threat and who isn't, instead of deciding in a lynch mob...

Bless you, Father. You show the true face of Christianity when too many of us are too scared to show any face, let alone a Christian one.

John Fisher said...

You all fail to grasp you are being taken advantage of and lack national certitude. What they are attracted by is free housing and social services. By all means provide help. If they are in the UK then no permanent visas... they must go back. Better to pour money into good housing and relief in the region of origin.
In Australia only 1 in 20 migrants ever work but they live off tax money.
The British Empire has gone. India for Indians, Africa for Africans and the UK for British. Governments should not induce immigration but should induce development and all assistance in countries of origin. Europe is in stable balance.
As for Syria we need to back the Syrian government in exchange for certain undertakings. We need to send troops in and destroy ISIS utterly then have Nuremburg type trial for its leaders with the death penalty.
The UK must consolidate itself and expel those with no ethnic links to the UK. This is so as to stop long term grief and to stop ethnic displacement. It is also to preserve and maintain stability and stop public money wasted in welfare dependency.

nickbris said...

Where would we get bar-staff in London without Australians ?

Adulio said...

What I say is that we Christians must always be one the side of charity, even to the point of cruciffixion.

You make a mockery out of true Christian charity by this statement. I'd like you to say these to Christians feeling the brunt end of ISIS in Iraq.

It's always easy to bleat on about "charity" from the comfort of your own home.

Cosmos said...

I just don't understand why Christians are now required to treat Muslims as if their religion is not hostile towards and a threat to Christianity? The idea is to help the refugees without re-settling millions of people who will reshape the West.

Also, is the idea that there should just be open borders?

Fr Ray Blake said...

Next time I invoke St Paul I will tell him, "It's always easy to bleat on about "charity" from the comfort of your own home."

It is concerning that so many Christians, or those who use Christ like a racist or nationalist banner want to reject what is basic to Christianity, that we must follow Christ to the Cross.

The Christians home is the Cross.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Of course that is true and governments must be careful but we must be charitable, Charity must dominate but never be imprudent or careless.

Cosmos said...

Right. And I don't think its your responsibility, as a priest, to conform your actions to what you think is most politically prudent.

In other words, even if you thought that no refugees should be admitted, I think it is perfectly just and good of you to take care of those who were. Our duty is, first and foremost, to the world we encounter.

John Nolan said...


Please provide the evidence that the majority of RAF fighter pilots in 1940 were foreigners. It shouldn't be difficult - the Air Force list?

As for your remarks about starving out the Irish in order to get the railways built, it again shows your lamentable ignorance of history. The potato blight was not engineered by HM government. At the time of the 1851 census the Great Northern Railway was in the course of construction. The entries for the agricultural village of Corby Glen, Lincs. show the occupation of those who were resident on the night of Sunday 30 March. A very large number give their occupation as 'railway labourer'. This was the first census to require place of birth and not a single one was born in Ireland. They hailed from Lincolnshire, Leicestershire and Rutland. There was no shortage of workers in the 19th century since the population was increasing rapidly and was skewed towards the younger generation.

As for Hungary, it is the only EU country to have Christianity written into its constitution. The EU itself has deliberately chosen to write off its Christian heritage. In the whole of Budapest there is only one medieval church; it was turned into a mosque by the Moslem occupiers and the mihrab can still be seen. All the others were destroyed. The Treaty of Trianon (1920) was the most punitive imposed on any of the Central Powers and after the Second World War the Soviet tyranny was worse than in any other occupied country.

To suggest the Hungarians suffer from historical amnesia is as wide of the mark as it is possible to get.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Our duty is, first and foremost, to the world we encounter

I never had you down as a Kasperite! I believe our our duty is to God, I headed this a 'Trad response' because the Lady in question considered her response to refugees had to conform to her understanding she would one day face judgement before God.

The 'tradness' is the nature of her fear of judgement, that although God is gentle and merciful and promises us salvation he is also the demanding master who 'sows where he has not reaped ...' and demands what he has given back with interest.

Fr Ray Blake said...

I to conform my actions, not to any political ideology, but to the fear I will short stand before the throne of God as the sheep and goats stood before the King. I am in terror, asw I think we all should be, that I will find myself being told to depart from him, 'for inasmuch did this not to me...

Solitary Sojourning said...

Wonderful post, Fr. Blake. It takes true courage to post something like this at this time. I think we all forget about how one day we will be standing before the Throne of God on the account of our sins and how we treated others. Samaritans were the enemies of the Jews, were they not? Yet, one of them saw that his neighbor was is need (and didn't ask his religion!) and went to assist him.

It is easy to say that we are Catholic but words are cheap.

B flat said...

Dear Father,

I understand your tenacity rather better, after seeing your reply to Cosmos dated 16/9 posted 9:39pm.
May God repay you according to His promise, for seeing Him in your neighbour.
However, I disagree with your depiction of any Christian arriving in the next world as a refugee or asylum seeker. We have renounced the World, and have no abiding city here. Our home is in Heaven, because we have been adopted by the Father, through the Salvation wrought (and bought) for us at great price by His Son, from His Incarnation to His Ascension.

We believe according to the Creed, and if we act on our Faith, we come to Heaven as heirs coming into their inheritance. To imagine this is anything like the situation of a refugee is grossly mistaken.

If I am wrong in this, then even those who consider themselves orthodox Christians seem to have very different understanding of what the Salvation won by Christ really is. Have I wasted my life in trying to serve Christ faithfully.

Liam Ronan said...

There is a thoughtful reflection on these matters just published in Crisis Magazine. The author is William Kilpatrick, a man whose credentials are published with the article, "The Migrant Crisis: Compassion and Common Sense".

Whatever one's take on the current state of affairs, this is a piece (link below) worth considering.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Liam that is a good piece

Fr Ray Blake said...

Wise as always b flat!
Yes Heaven is our but it can be lost.
It is a 'both and'
The Gospels give us countless warnings against presumption yet God tells us to presume.

JR Charousek said...

When you find someone in need, what do you do?

You help them!

You don't ask their religious beliefs.

JR Charousek said...

The bible sounds pretty intolerant at times

JR Charousek said...


Nicolas Bellord said...

nickbris: The reason why we need immigrants is our demographic problem where the indigenous population is not producing enough children due to artificial contraception and abortion. I wonder how the Almighty sees us when we have made virtues out of every vice. The media shows us the plight of the migrants but ignores the equally horrifying videos exposing the horrors of Planned Parenthood's treatment of the unborn. Who kills more innocent lives each day? The Muslim world or us? I wonder whether we are not due to receive a terrible punishment; it may be in the form of a takeover by Islam. Maybe we can avert it by charity towards migrants?

Nicolas Bellord said...

Charousek: The position of Christians can be more dire than that of Muslims. Muslims have adjoining countries where they can go. Christians have to go much further to find a safe nominally Christian refuge. Also in refugee camps they can be subject to abuse from Muslims. I am hoping that Cameron's policy on taking refugees from the camps will take this into account.

JR Charousek said...

What you are writing is just words and thinking. My question just needs a simple reply, not a detailed explanation.

When you see someone who is hungry, what do you do?

Feed them!

It is really that simple.

Nicolas Bellord said...

Charousek: I think you feed those in greatest need first.

BJC said...


Great article. Thanks for passing it on.

Jeremiah Methuselah said...

Our Christian duty is to help one’s neighbour/s. So, if we happen on, say, the Samaritan, we must help. It’s clear.

This current influx – invasion perhaps, is not exactly the same, the Samaritans are moving towards Europe in very large numbers. It is a problem which will not go away, we must face that. The refugees must be helped, where people can, but the first responsibility is surely down to governments ? The whole issue, I believe, is much larger, much more complex and more dangerous than is generally admitted, it’s more than a question of food and shelter, that is just “First Aid”.

First of all, are all the refugees what and who they seem ? The UN gives children as 19%, women 13%, the rest men. That’s 68% of, mostly young, men who could be single, or as the good Father says, that may have abandoned their families, including Grannie. As we are told many of these refugees destroy their identity documents, which I consider is a form of lying, their true provenance is guesswork. They are most definitely not all from Syria. And I steadfastly refuse to believe they are all true refugees. I’ve seen too many “economic migrants” in my time to be fooled.

Another question : why it has taken so long to react to the Syrian tragedy, the Iraqian tragedy and many other equally distressing events ? Various people and bodies have warned of overt invasion from outside Europe for some years now, so where have the politicians been ? Of course, the emotional reaction to the shocking picture of the little drowned boy has been the trigger for this latest human wave. BUT, the various stories to be found about his father and his family, the interviews with his father and his aunt in Canada, raise more questions than they answer. The MSM simply adore tragic pictures like that. It’s worth reading the facts.

Another point - the existence of the gangs which organise these mass movements’- ”people movers” - has not been a closely guarded secret. It was the same story with the pirates off the east coast of Africa, who plundered and attacked their way to seize huge numbers of vulnerable deep-sea ships, until Kenya (and other countries) combined to form an operational plan and take action.

The latest reaction of Chancellor Merkel was to invite 800 000 refugees into Germany, then to suspend, unilaterally, almost overnight, the Schengen agreement; later she “ordered” other European countries to accept “their share” of so-called refugees. These actions alone constitute
a clear warning of the determination of some politicians to impose their will on the subject peoples of Europe. It was the same with the imposition of homosexual unions, the expressed desires of the people were totally ignored.

This particular aspect, I suggest, tells us dramatically that we need to think deeply about the eventual destination of this current situation ? It is not being “intolerant” or “racist” or “Islamophobic” or any of the other stupid labels (thought-terminating clichés) if we are concerned about reality. We know the recalcitrance of certain oil-rich countries, as well as the beneficence of other Arabic countries (Jordan comes to mind for its amazing generosity). In that beneficent country, 10% Christian BTW, Christian churches are not banned. In Saudi Arabia, not even a bible is allowed in and their barbaric sense of justice is evident for all to see.

In sum, we need to define the problem in “3D”, at least. While we have seen the result of reacting to a situation by invading an Arabic country (known as the Blair Solution), we cannot ignore any more that the problem starts off in certain countries. To stop the water tank from overflowing, maybe it’s better to stop the leak at source rather than handle the devastation, damage, the deaths and the injuries which happen because of the flood downstream. That is a “solution “ which would continue until the end of the world.

Dymphna said...

Reports of attacks on German women near the refugee centers have already started. If you have to take in thousands of strangers at least take families with small children. Military aged males are too risky.

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