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Don’t let migrants be excluded, says Pope

31 May 2019

‘In listening to them, we also give voice to a part of ourselves’


Pope Francis preaches at a mass in the Vatican, last week, for the opening of the XXI General Assembly of Caritas Internationalis

Pope Francis preaches at a mass in the Vatican, last week, for the opening of the XXI General Assembly of Caritas Internationalis

MIGRANTS and refugees are being “overlooked” and excluded by an increasingly utilitarian, unjust, economically imbalanced, and discriminate global society, Pope Francis has warned.

In an address on Monday to signpost the 105th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, which will be commemorated on 29 September, the Pope said: “The most economically advanced societies are witnessing a growing trend towards extreme individualism, which, combined with a utilitarian mentality, and reinforced by the media, is producing a ‘globalisation of indifference’.

“In this scenario, migrants, refugees, displaced persons, and victims of trafficking have become emblems of exclusion. In addition to the hardships that their condition entails, they are often looked down upon and considered the source of all society’s ills. That attitude is an alarm-bell warning of the moral decline we will face if we continue to give ground to the throw-away culture.”

This culture, he said, would lead to a society that marginalises the “accepted norms” of physical, mental, and social well-being. The presence of migrants, refugees, and vulnerable people should instead be “an invitation to recover some of those essential dimensions of our Christian existence and our humanity that risk being overlooked in a prosperous society.

“That is why it is not just about migrants. When we show concern for them, we also show concern for ourselves, for everyone; in taking care of them, we all grow; in listening to them, we also give voice to a part of ourselves that we may keep hidden because it is not well regarded nowadays.”

The commemoration was also about the “fear of ‘the other’, the unknown, the marginalised, the foreigner”: fears that led to intolerance, Pope Francis said.

He concluded: “Our response to the challenges posed by contemporary migration can be summed up in four verbs: welcome, protect, promote, and integrate. Yet these verbs do not apply only to migrants and refugees. They describe the Church’s mission to all those living in the existential peripheries, who need to be welcomed, protected, promoted, and integrated. . .

“In a word, it is not only the cause of migrants that is at stake; it is not just about them, but about all of us, and about the present and future of the human family.”

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