Welcoming Refugees Is a Duty, Says Benedict XVI

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SAN GIOVANNI ROTONDO, Italy, JUNE 21, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is marking World Refugee Day by calling for an end to conflicts that cause people to flee their homes, and underlining the duty to welcome these displaced persons.

The Pope said this today before praying the midday Angelus with those gathered at the Church of San Pio de Pietrelcina in San Giovanni Rotondo.

The Pontiff is spending the day in the city where St. Pio of Pietrelcina, popularly known as Padre Pio, is buried.

“We pray today for the difficult and sometimes dramatic situation of refugees,” the Holy Father affirmed.

He continued: “It was just yesterday that we celebrated World Refugee Day, sponsored by the United Nations.

“There are many people who seek refuge in other countries fleeing from situations of war, persecution and disasters, and their acceptance poses many difficulties, but it is nevertheless a duty.”

The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees reported some 10.5 million refugees and 26 million internally displaced persons throughout the world due to conflicts and persecution.

Benedict XVI concluded, “God grant that, with the commitment of all, we will do as much as possible to remove the causes of so sad a phenomenon.”

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On ZENIT’s Web page:

Full text: http://www.zenit.org/article-26237?l=english

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