Cathedral of St David, Cardiff, Wales  Cathedral of St David, Cardiff, Wales  

Bishops of England and Wales plenary begins in Cardiff

As the plenary meeting of the Bishops Conference of England and Wales gets underway from 2-6 May in Cardiff, Canon Christopher Thomas, General Secretary of the Bishops’ Conference, looks ahead to the event.

By Vatican News staff reporter

The last time the bishops met in Wales was 18 years ago. In that time, Wales has become a devolved administration which has created a very distinctive character within the Principality.

Canon Christopher Thomas, General Secretary of the Bishops’ Conference is himself from Wales.

Speaking about the plenary meeting in Cardiff, he said “the physical presence of the bishops being together will be integral to it.”

As part of their work, the bishops will make a visit to the Welsh Senedd (Senate) and meet with members to show “that we are real partners in developing not only the Catholic voice in Wales but also in building up the whole of the society,” he said.

Situation in Ukraine

One of the key issues on the agenda for the meeting is the ongoing situation in Ukraine. Canon Thomas noted that Bishop Kenneth Nowakowski,  of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of the Holy Family of London, will be updating the bishops personally. There will also be reports on how Catholic communities across Britain have been supporting the people of Ukraine.

Addressing poverty

Another area of discussion over the next few days is domestic poverty and the issues that are arising because of the cost of living crisis. “Nobody can escape that fact that the cost of living is going up, and we can’t divorce ourselves from these social issues,” Canon Thomas said.

He pointed out that Catholic communities reached out in very concrete ways during the COVID-19 pandemic to support people in real need.

Canon Thomas went on to say that the plenary meeting will be looking at how the Church can do this more strategically.

Immigration policy

Under a new set of immigration policies announced by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson last month, tens of thousands of unauthorized migrants who arrive in the UK will be sent to Rwanda.

Speaking about this matter, the general secretary said the bishops will be looking at the issues that have come forth from the publication of the government’s Rwanda policy and refugee issues. “We have always been a place where we live according to the freedom of law. And we welcome people who are escaping injustices in their own countries”, he said.

02 May 2022, 14:37