"Right to Emigrate" Defended by Vatican

Cardinal Sodano Writes to Organization of American States

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 4, 2002 (Zenit.org).- In a message sent to the Organization of American States, the Vatican states that there is a “just right to emigrate.”

The letter, signed on behalf of John Paul II by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican secretary of state, addresses some issues discussed by the OAS during a three-day meeting in Bridgetown, Barbados, which ended today.

“All men and women of the region must enjoy the just right to emigrate, which includes the right to live worthily with one´s own family, to preserve and develop one´s own cultural patrimony, including the religious patrimony, and to be treated in every circumstance in keeping with one´s own human dignity,” the cardinal explained.

“The limits of the ethical obligation to accept immigrants cannot only be determined by the mere defense of one´s own well-being,” he continued.

The Vatican statement was made at the height of the debate on the rights of Latin American immigrants in the United States and Canada, as well as between the borders of the Central and South American countries.

The message, given to the Foreign Affairs Minister of the host country and president of the assembly, Billie Miller, by Archbishop Emil Paul Tscherrig, apostolic nuncio in the Antilles, recognized that in the countries that receive “the migratory flow, the temptation can easily arise of intolerance and social discrimination of minorities, abuse of the weakest sectors, and disproportionate defense of acquired well-being, employment and other social benefits.”

Because of this, the Church requests that the challenge be addressed globally, that is, “beginning with the notion of the universal common good, which embraces the whole human family, overcoming any nationalist egoism.”

The Vatican message emphasizes “the need for effective intercontinental solidarity, among the governments and peoples of America, which will attempt to offer with generosity the material means to resolve the great problems that affect vast areas of the continent.”

“Such a solidarity will necessarily imply greater sacrifices on the part of the most advantaged states and social groups, putting to one side short-term sectorial interests, both in order to receive a brother who arrives in search of better conditions of life, as well as to facilitate his stay in his native region,” Cardinal Sodano explained.

However, the Vatican message also calls for attention to the problem at its roots, “with a continental effort for the creation of jobs in the poorer states and geographical areas, which are worthy, abundant and stable.”

“Financial aid and the wide opening of markets developed in favor of the production of the poorest countries, are an indispensable complement of the normative on the migratory phenomenon,” the message added.

The members of OAS (www.oas.org) are the countries of America and the Caribbean, with the exception of Cuba.

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