Borders Shouldn't Split Families, Says Holy Father

Defends Personal Rights of Emigrants

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 8, 2009 ( Benedict XVI is calling for laws that allow emigrants’ families to be reunited, saying that this is a requirement of respect for persons.

The Pope said this today during his traditional annual address to the members of the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See. The Holy See has diplomatic relations with 177 nations.

In his French-language address that gave an overview of some of the most problematic areas of the planet, the Pontiff touched on issues facing Latin America.

«There too,» he said, «people desire to live in peace, liberated from poverty and able freely to exercise their fundamental rights.»

It was in this context that he affirmed that «the needs of emigrants need to be taken into consideration by legislation which would make it easier to reunite families, reconciling the legitimate requirements of security with those of inviolable respect for the person.»

The Holy Father also touched on positive developments in Latin America, noting for example the «overriding commitment shown by some governments toward re-establishing the rule of law and waging an uncompromising battle against the drug trade and political corruption.»

This effort has been undertaken, for example, in Mexico.

Benedict XVI also mentioned the anniversary marked in 2008 of the successful papal mediation that warded off war between Argentina and Chile: «I am pleased that […] those two countries have in some way sealed their desire for peace by raising a monument to my venerable predecessor, Pope John Paul II.»

«For five centuries the Church has accompanied the peoples of Latin America, sharing their hopes and their concerns,» the Pontiff noted. «Her pastors know that, to favor the authentic progress of society, their proper task is to enlighten consciences and to form laymen and women capable of engaging responsibly in temporal affairs, at the service of the common good.»

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