Church of England 'wrong' on migration, says former Archbishop

Lord Carey of Clifton, former Archbishop of Canterbury.Chris Dobson

The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, has said that the Church of England "must not turn a blind eye to the impact of mass migration on Britain". 

Writing in The Telegraph, Lord Carey accused the current Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and bishops sitting in the House of Lords of "blindness to what migration is doing to our country – our culture, our infrastructure and our common life".

He said that while Britain was and should be a welcoming country, some communities are struggling to cope with large numbers of immigrants, leading to a "severe lack of housing and services" which is "reaching breaking point in poorer areas".

"The elites are well-protected, but Britain's poorest have a different experience. An experiment in mass immigration has been foisted upon them without their consent, changing their lives and their communities," he said. 

In his article, the 88 year old commented on the row over whether the Church of England has unwittingly helped asylum seekers gain asylum with fake conversions to Christianity.

While he agreed with the Church that it is the job of the Home Office to decide on asylum applications, he said that its response had been "thin-skinned" and that "Church hierarchy seems to be denying that there is a problem at all, or anything questionable about its own actions and statements". 

"While it is true that most clergy are experienced enough to deal with these sorts of pastoral situations, the Church should do more to insist that baptism preparation is rigorous," he said. 

He called on political parties to commit to bringing down refugee numbers and said that both politicians and church leaders "should do much more to listen to the voices of those struggling communities which feel alienated and marginalised by unprecedented rates of immigration".

"And those seeking asylum should only be given that honour on the strict understanding that they must leave behind the political and moral structures of their former societies that are incompatible with the open, democratic values of their new homes," he said.