In a keynote address given at the Caritas Social Action Network (CSAN) Parliamentary reception on 4 November 2015, Cardinal Vincent has praised the work of Catholic charities in helping to alleviate suffering both in the UK and overseas.
The Cardinal said that Catholic charities contribute towards building 'a community and a society which offers opportunity to all, and the wherewithal to build a life and a livelihood'.
He recognised the work of CSAN along with Caritas France to alleviate some of the suffering of refugees living in the 'Jungle' in Calais in conditions that 'dehumanise those living there and rob them of their dignity'.
He also recognised the work of the Cardinal Hume Centre in London and St Antony's Centre in Manchester who 'combine a person-centered approach built on trust and compassion with a varied and well-crafted tool-kit to help their clients into work – into work with sufficient and consistent hours and a just wage'.
He also mentioned the foodbanks in the diocese which' offer food, shelter and support to those whose circumstances are worsening or who have long term problems', as well as the other charities that 'work to move families along the developmental line from urgent assistance to re-building their capacity to self-sufficiency'.
At the same time, Cardinal Vincent said that, in his view, 'people's generosity far outstrips the response of our Government'. He called on the Government to do more to welcome refugees and to help alleviate the potentially negative impact of reforms to working tax credits.
Returning to the work of Catholic charities, the Cardinal spoke about his time in Rome attending the Synod on the Family last month in Rome: 'The Synod of Bishops meeting over the last few weeks, in Rome, gave a great deal of attention to the effects on the family of poverty, violence, war, migration and desperate need. Our work there focused on how we respond pastorally to families in their unique situation and embrace them in God’s mercy and understanding. This could be no better guidance and affirmation for the compassionate work that you all do day by day.'
The complete text of the keynote address is available here.