EVENT: The fight for Europe's migration policy

A recent cover of the Catholic Herald depicted Pope Francis and controversial right wing Italian politician Matteo Salvini fighting over Italy.

The article summary stated that both men were competing 'for the hearts and minds' of voters.

Much of this has been over migration, a debate that stretches across Europe and throws up many questions, chief for Catholics being 'What's the Christian response?'

John Dalhuisen (main picture), a leading thinker on human rights and migration policy, hopes to unpack the main migration themes at an event hosted by the Archdiocese on Thursday night, to help you get a clearer picture of a complex issue facing politicians.

He said: "There must be space for some element of utilitarian thinking. You have to factor in the maximum possible good to the most people based on a set of political and practical predictions of what will happen. You can’t just apply fundamental moral norms if the application of those norms have predictably adverse outcomes.

"You need to work out not the best imaginable policy consistent with moral preferences, but the best possible set of policies that I can actually be acquired."

John has previously been the Europe Director at Amnesty International and Special Adviser to the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights.

He added: "There is an ideological battle between two protagonists that are central to this debate – Matteo Salvini and Pope Francis.

"The most popular politician among church-going Catholic Italians is Salvini. That is something the church needs to reflect on. It’s not obvious that Francis’ message on migration and how he is communicating it, is winning.

"It’s not just him, it’s the whole penumbra of more politically engaged Catholic organisations that are also advocating positions that are very easily dismissed by politicians."

Closed or Open Doors? The Fight for Europe's Migration Policy, with John Dalhuisen, is on at 7pm at the Gillis Centre, 100 Strathearn Road, Edinburgh this Thursday (20th Feb). Register now on Eventbrite (click here). Entry by donation.

This event is sponsored by the Caritas, Justice and Peace Commission of the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh. Follow John Dalhuisen on Twitter: @DalhuisenJJ