News

Public debate on Slavery in History and New Slaveries at the International Catholic Conference on Migration in Liverpool

23/11/2008

Slavery has been with us for a very long time – you need only open the scriptures to come face to face with slaves said the Archbishop of Accra, the Most Reverend Palmer-Buckle at the opening session of the public debate on slavery.

“Trade in human persons is a shocking offence against human dignity and human rights, “ said the Secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, Archbishop Marchetto. “It is an affront to human values to all countries and peoples.”

“Slavery is evil,” said Archbishop Palmer-Buckle of Accra. “Whether we can ever eradicate evil in humanity is another story. When evil is individual, is collective, is cultural, is structural, is systematic and can even become political. These are all various parts we need to be addressed.”

“People need to be informed about what is evil. Not just intellectually, culturally, but from a psychological perspective. We as a Church cannot limit ourselves pastorally. We are called to inform and form. We are called upon to deal with the cultural, structural format of this evil; intellectually and psychologically.”

On the importance of public apologies for slavery, the Archbishop of Ghana said: “My great grandfather was kept as a slave, and saw freedom. In that context he got education. It’s come out positive. My duty is to help others to begin to look more positively.”

Looking to the future Archbishop Marchetto said: “I try to be realistic and Christian. If we Christians are not hopeful, who can be hopeful? We have a duty to be evangelical; to welcome the stranger who is coming to us.”

In recent history, he said that communications had increased the number of people migrating to overcome adversity and lead a better life and stressed that migrants: “have a right to fair treatment at work, access to health and education and to freely manifest their culture and practise their religion.”

Archbishop Palmer-Buckle said: “I am optimistic. In the midst of all darkness, I see a lot of flickers of hope and light. My eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord…. In another 5 to 10 years we will see a more remarkable change for the better.”

Information/Contact

Peter Heneghan: Press Officer for the Archdiocese of Liverpool
t: 0151 522 1007
e: p.heneghan@rcaol.co.uk

Notes

The moderator for the debate was Rob McLoughlin

Speakers:

Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People
Archbishop Charles Gabriel Palmer-Buckle of Accra