Pope: governments must work for proper integration of immigrants
Benedict XVI speaks to the new diplomatic representative of the Philippines about the distinction between Church and state as an "achievement" of Christianity, and of attention to the needs of those seeking work far from their homeland.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Distinction between religion and politics is an achievement due to Christianity, and the Catholic Church continues to promote it, in the conviction of the necessary collaboration between state and Church, having the common aim of the good of persons. This is the primary objective of social doctrine, as Benedict XVI explained today in the remarks that he addressed to the new ambassador of the Philippines to the Holy See, Cristina Castañer-Ponce Enrile, received today to present her letters of credence.

In the context of concern over social welfare, the pope also made reference to the attention of the Filipino government toward its own emigrant citizens. In this regard, Benedict XVI spoke of immigration as a "resource for development."

"Government leaders," he added, "face numerous challenges as they strive to ensure that immigrants are integrated into society in a way that acknowledges their human dignity and affords them the opportunity to earn a decent living, with adequate time for rest and a due provision for worship. The just care of immigrants and the building up of a solidarity of labour requires governments, humanitarian agencies, peoples of faith and all citizens to cooperate with prudence and patient determination. Domestic and international policies aimed at regulating immigration must be based on criteria of equity and balance, and particular care is needed to facilitate the reunification of families. At the same time, conditions that foster increased work opportunities in peoples’ places of origin are to be promoted as far as possible."

As for the collaboration between Church and state, the pope said that "the Church is equally convinced that State and religion are called to support each other as they together serve the personal and social well-being of all. This harmonious cooperation between Church and State requires ecclesial and civic leaders to carry out their public duties with undaunted concern for the common good. By cultivating a spirit of honesty and impartiality, and by keeping justice their aim, civil and ecclesial leaders earn the trust of the people and enhance a sense of the shared responsibility of all citizens to promote a civilization of love."