Following the announcement of Public Health England’s inquiry into the disproportionate effects of the pandemic on BAME communities, Bishop Paul McAleenan said:
“While people from all backgrounds are suffering, the experiences of Catholic charities and clergy reflect a growing body of evidence that Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic (BAME) and Gypsy, Roma, Traveller (GRT) communities are being harmed particularly by this pandemic.
“Public Health England’s inquiry is much needed, and our Church will be engaging with it. However, an inquiry alone is not enough. The government needs urgently to tackle the known structural inequalities that have left some communities paying such a high price. We also need to recognise the disproportionate sacrifice made by people from minority backgrounds in frontline services.
“This health crisis presents our society with serious questions of racial justice. Pope Francis has called on the Church to help tackle “intolerance, discrimination or exclusion, that seriously undermine the dignity of those involved as well as their fundamental rights, including the very right to life”. His words are especially resonant amid the challenges we face today about racial discrimination in our society.”
Bishop McAleenan is the Chair of the Office for Migration Policy for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales and a member of the Department for International Affairs.