Pope: World Migrants' Day, welcoming without prejudice and without fear
"Don't close the doors to hope". "The Holy Spirit does not want closures; he wants openness, welcoming communities where there is room for everyone". "Every closure, in fact, keeps at a distance those who do not think like us. This - we know - is the root of so many great evils in history: of the absolutism that has often generated dictatorships and so much violence towards those who are different".
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "Let us not close the doors to the hope" of migrants and refugees, welcoming them "without prejudice and without fear". "The Holy Spirit does not want closures; he wants openness, welcoming communities where there is room for everyone".
Pope Francis marked the World day for Migrants and Refugees, at the Angelus in St Peter's Square with several thousand people including many migrants groups and associations.
Welcoming those who are forced to leave their homeland is a constant theme of this pontificat and the subject of today's reflections. The Holy Fther spoke of the title of this years World Day 'Towards an ever greater us'. He said: "It is necessary to walk together, without prejudice and without fear, placing ourselves beside those who are most vulnerable: migrants, refugees, displaced persons, victims of trafficking and the abandoned. We are called to build an ever more inclusive world that excludes no one. I am with all those around the world who are celebrating this day."
Closure, dividision, exclusion and judging were at the heart of the Pope's words even before the recitation of the Marian prayer. Francis, commenting on the Gospel of the day, warned against the temptation - the work of the devil - present in the world and in the Church to create groups that believe they hold the truth.
To the apostles who want to prevent a man from casting out demons because he is not part of their group, Jesus replied by inviting them not to hinder those who work for good.
"For every closure keeps at a distance those who do not think as we do. This - we know - is the root of so many great evils in history: of the absolutism that has often generated dictatorships and of so much violence towards those who are different". "Because the devil, who is the divider - this is what the word 'devil' means - always insinuates suspicions in order to divide and exclude people".
And "may God preserve us from the mentality of the 'nest', that of jealously guarding ourselves in the small group of those who consider themselves good: the priest with his loyal followers, the pastoral workers closed among themselves so that no one infiltrates, the movements and associations in their own particular charism, and so on. All this risks making Christian communities places of separation and not of communion".
After the Angelus, the Pope also expressed his "closeness and solidarity with those who have been affected by the eruption of the volcano on La Palma Island in the Canary Islands. I am thinking especially of those who have been forced to leave their homes. Let us pray to Our Lady, venerated on that island as Nuestra Señora de las Nieves, for these people who have been so tried and for the rescuers".
Finally, Francis recalled that "today, in Bologna, Fr Giovanni Fornasini, priest and martyr, will be beatified. A parish priest zealous in charity, he did not abandon his flock during the tragic period of the Second World War, but defended it to the point of shedding blood. May his heroic testimony help us to face life's trials with fortitude".