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Justin Welby hits out at gov’s Rwanda plan 'against the judgment of God’

by Kelly Valencia
Justin Welby Easter 2022.png - Banner image

The Archbishop of Canterbury has used his Easter sermon to criticise the government’s plan to send some asylum seekers to Rwanda.

For Most Rev Justin Welby, sending asylum seekers 4,000 miles away is “subcontracting our responsibilities” and the “opposite of the nature of God”.

It comes as Boris Johnson revealed on Thursday that tens of thousands of male asylum seekers crossing the Channel in small boats would be flown to Rwanda for processing.

But many politicians, charities and human rights groups have spoken out against the policy, with some suggesting it would break international law.

Archbishop Justin said: “This season is also why there are such serious ethical questions about sending asylum seekers overseas. The details are for politics and politicians. The principle must stand the judgement of God and it cannot.

“It cannot carry the weight of resurrection justice, of life conquering death…

“And it cannot carry the weight of our national responsibility as a country formed by Christian values, because sub-contracting out our responsibilities, even to a country that seeks to do well like Rwanda, is the opposite of the nature of God who himself took responsibility for our failures.”

The head of the Church of England also took the opportunity to raise awareness of the cost of living crisis facing many in the UK.

He said: "Families across the country are waking up to cold homes and empty stomachs as we face the greatest cost-of-living crisis we have known in our lifetimes.

"And because of this they wake up with fear."

He later added: "For many in this country the news from Ukraine is terrible, but the rising cost of power, fuel and basic food will be the first and overwhelming thought of the day.

"For others it will be the continued deep sense of loss of someone from Covid, or during Covid, to whom they could not say a proper farewell. The news might move on, but grief does not."

He also called for a ceasefire in the Russian war against Ukraine.

"Let this be a time for Russian ceasefire, withdrawal and a commitment to talks.

"This is a time for resetting the ways of peace, not for what Bismarck called blood and iron. Let Christ prevail! Let the darkness of war be banished," he continued.

Archbishop Justin concluded by reflecting on what the resurrection means for us as individuals.

"In dying for us, he sees and knows the wounds that cause us so much pain.

"He hears the cry of the mothers in Ukraine, he sees the fear of boys too young to become soldiers, and he knows the vulnerability of the orphans and refugees.

"Closer to home, he sees the humiliation of the grandparent visiting the foodbank for the first time, the desperate choice of parents in poverty and the grief and weariness of the pandemic.

"The resurrection of Jesus is not a magic wand that makes the world perfect.

"But the resurrection of Christ is the tectonic shift in the way the cosmos works.

"It is the conquest of death and the opening of eternal life, through Jesus a gift offered to every human being who reaches out to him."  

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