09/10/2020, 17.00
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Pope: borders are not barriers but 'windows' onto others

Francis met with the participants in ‘Snapshots from the Borders’, a European project. For the Pope, “The International Community has been content with military interventions, whereas it should have built institutions that can guarantee equal opportunities and enable citizens to assume their responsibility for the common good.”


Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis met this morning with participants of ‘Snapshots from the Borders’, a European project dedicated to migration. In his address, the pontiff said that borders “always deemed barriers of division, can become, instead, ‘windows’, areas of mutual knowledge, of reciprocal enrichment, of communion in diversity”.

For Francis, the project in question “proposes to promote a more profound understanding of migration, which will enable European societies to give a more human and coordinated response to the challenges of contemporary migrations.”

“The present migratory scenario is complex and often carries tragic implications. Global interdependencies, which shape migratory flows, must be studied and better understood. The challenges are multiple and touch everyone. No one can remain indifferent before the human tragedies that continue to occur in different regions of the world. Often those that occur in the Mediterranean, a bordered sea but also a meeting place for cultures, are the ones that challenge us.

On this point, the Pope noted when the bishops of the Mediterranean met last February in Bari, southern Italy, he said that “The International Community has content with military interventions, whereas it should have built institutions that can guarantee equal opportunities and enable citizens to assume their responsibility for the common good.”

“At the same time, we cannot accept that people who seek hope by sea should die without receiving aid [. . .] Of course, welcoming and integrating with dignity are stages of a process that is not easy; however, no one can imagine that we can do it by erecting walls”.

“In the face of such challenges, it seems evident that genuine solidarity and shared responsibility are indispensable, at the national and international levels. ‘The current pandemic has highlighted our interdependence: we are all connected to each other, for better or for worse’ (General Audience, 2 September 2020).

“It is necessary to act together, not on our own. It is also essential to change the way we see and relate to migration: it is about putting people, faces and stories at the centre. Hence, the importance of projects, such as the one promoted by you, which seek to propose different approaches, inspired by the culture of encounter, which is the path towards a new humanism. When I say ‘new humanism,’ I don’t mean it only as a philosophy of life, but also as [a form of] spirituality, as a type of behaviour.

“The inhabitants of cities and border territories — societies, communities, churches — are called to be the first actors of this turning point, thanks to the continuous opportunities of encounter that history offers them.”

Snapshots from the borders - Small towns facing the global challenges of Agenda 2030 is a three-year project funded by the European Commission with a budget of 4.5 million euros (US$ 5,3 million). It includes 19 regions in Italy, Spain, France, Germany, Sweden, Austria, Slovenia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Cyprus, Malta and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Fifteen other countries are involved to varying degrees: Belgium, Latvia, Lithuania, Croatia, Luxembourg, Czechia, the Netherlands, Denmark, Poland, Estonia, Portugal, Finland, Slovakia, Ireland, and the United Kingdom.

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