11/24/2017, 12.40
VATICAN

Pope: to welcome, protect, promote and integrate those who are forced to migrate

In the message for the World Day of Peace, Francis states that all members of the one human family have the same rights to the goods of the earth, even migrants. "Those who, for what may be political reasons, foment fear of migrants instead of building peace are sowing violence, racial discrimination and xenophobia, which are matters of great concern for all those concerned for the safety of every human being."

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - To welcome, protect, promote and integrate those who are forced to migrate to escape wars and violence or to seek better living conditions. Solidarity and sharing that derive from being all part of the one human family - and therefore also having the same rights to the goods of the earth - are a path to peace, says Pope Francis in his message for the 51st World Peace Day.  The message for the Day, which will be celebrated on January 1, was published today and condemns those who fuel racial discrimination and xenophobia.

Titled "Migrants and Refugees: Men and Women in search of Peace," the document, dated November 13, "Liturgical memory of Frances Xavier Cabrini  Patron Saint of Migrants", also calls for the definition and approval by the United Nations, in 2018, of two global pacts, one for safe, orderly and regular migrations, the other with respect to refugees.

The message opens with a "wish for peace", "peace to all people and all the nations of the earth". Peace “especially for those who most keenly suffer its absence.  Among these whom I constantly keep in my thoughts and prayers, I would once again mention the over 250 million migrants worldwide, of whom 22.5 million are refugees." "In a spirit of compassion, let us embrace all those fleeing from war and hunger, or forced by discrimination, persecution, poverty and environmental degradation to leave their homelands."

But, "we know that it is not enough to open our hearts to the suffering of others.  Much more remains to be done before our brothers and sisters can once again live peacefully in a safe home”. This “requires concrete commitment, a network of assistance and goodwill" and," practising the virtue of prudence, government leaders should take practical measures to welcome, promote, protect, integrate, " and, “within the limits allowed by a correct understanding of the common good, to permit [them] to become part of a new society".  They have a clear responsibility towards their own communities, which must ensure their rights and harmonious development. "

There are many causes that push so many people to leave their homeland: war, violence and "misery aggravated by environmental degradation". " Most people migrate through regular channels.  Some, however, take different routes, mainly out of desperation, when their own countries offer neither safety nor opportunity, and every legal pathway appears impractical, blocked or too slow."

"Many destination countries have seen the spread of rhetoric decrying the risks posed to national security or the high cost of welcoming new arrivals, and by doing so demeans the human dignity due to all as sons and daughters of God.  Those who, for what may be political reasons, foment fear of migrants instead of building peace are sowing violence, racial discrimination and xenophobia, which are matters of great concern for all those concerned for the safety of every human being”.

Migrants do not come empty handed

Migrations will continue in the future and if "some consider this a threat.  For my part, I ask you to view it with confidence as an opportunity to build peace. The wisdom of faith nourishes this gaze, able to see that all of us “belong to one family, migrants and the local populations that welcome them, and all have the same right to enjoy the goods of the earth, whose destination is universal, as the social doctrine of the Church teaches."

Migrants and refugees also "do not arrive empty-handed.  They bring their courage, skills, energy and aspirations, as well as the treasures of their own cultures; and in this way, they enrich the lives of the nations that receive them." Those responsible for the public good should see this and “and encourage them to pursue policies of welcome, “within the limits allowed by a correct understanding of the common good”[11] – bearing in mind, that is, the needs of all members of the human family and the welfare of each. Those who see things in this way will be able to recognize the seeds of peace that are already sprouting and nurture their growth.  Our cities, often divided and polarized by conflicts regarding the presence of migrants and refugees."

"Offering asylum seekers, refugees, migrants and victims of human trafficking an opportunity to find the peace they seek requires a strategy combining four actions: welcoming, protecting, promoting and integrating”.

“Welcoming” calls for expanding legal pathways for entry and no longer pushing migrants and displaced people towards countries where they face persecution and violence.  It also demands balancing our concerns about national security with concern for fundamental human rights.  

“Protecting” has to do with our duty to recognize and defend the inviolable dignity of those who flee real dangers in search of asylum and security, and to prevent their being exploited.  I think in particular of women and children who find themselves in situations that expose them to risks and abuses that can even amount to enslavement.  

“Promoting” entails supporting the integral human development of migrants and refugees.  Among many possible means of doing so, I would stress the importance of ensuring access to all levels of education for children and young people.  This will enable them not only to cultivate and realize their potential, but also better equip them to encounter others and to foster a spirit of dialogue rather than rejection or confrontation.

“Integrating”, lastly, means allowing refugees and migrants to participate fully in the life of the society that welcomes them, as part of a process of mutual enrichment and fruitful cooperation in service of the integral human development of the local community.  

UN pacts for safe migration and refugees

In this logic Francis hopes " his spirit will guide the process that in the course of 2018 will lead the United Nations to draft and approve two Global Compacts, one for safe, orderly and regular migration and the other for refugees.  As shared agreements at a global level, these compacts will provide a framework for policy proposals and practical measures.  For this reason, they need to be inspired by compassion, foresight and courage, so as to take advantage of every opportunity to advance the peace-building process.  Only in this way can the realism required of international politics avoid surrendering to cynicism and to the globalization of indifference.

Dialogue and coordination are a necessity and a specific duty for the international community.  Beyond national borders, higher numbers of refugees may be welcomed – or better welcomed – also by less wealthy countries, if international cooperation guarantees them the necessary funding.

The Migrants and Refugees Section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development has published a set of twenty action points that provide concrete leads for implementing these four verbs in public policy and in the attitudes and activities of Christian communities.[17]  The aim of this and other contributions is to express the interest of the Catholic Church in the process leading to the adoption of the two U.N. Global Compacts.  This interest is the sign of a more general pastoral concern that goes back to very origins of Church and has continued in her many works up to the present time."

"Let us draw inspiration from the words of Saint John Paul II: “If the ‘dream’ of a peaceful world is shared by all, if the refugees’ and migrants’ contribution is properly evaluated, then humanity can become more and more a universal family and our earth a true ‘common home’.”[18]  Throughout history, many have believed in this “dream”, and their achievements are a testament to the fact that it is no mere utopia. Among these, we remember Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini in this year that marks the hundredth anniversary of her death.  On this thirteenth day of November, many ecclesial communities celebrate her memory.  This remarkable woman, who devoted her life to the service of migrants and became their patron saint, taught us to welcome, protect, promote and integrate our brothers and sisters.  Through her intercession, may the Lord enable all of us to experience that “a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” (FP)

Printable version
CLOSE X
See also
Pope: Fr. Czerny, Peace Message urges the care of our common home
24/11/2017 14:13
Migrants are not just Pope Francis’s obsession
24/11/2017 16:45
Pope: in Europe "signs of rejection" of migrants also among Catholics
22/09/2017 15:02
Xenophobia and populism. The case of Asia
15/12/2017 11:43
Pope: Migrants and local communities encountering Christ without fear
14/01/2018 13:26