Official: Catholics Need New Perspective on Migrants

Reflects on Circulation of People, Consequence of Globalization

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 3, 2009 ( Globalization is not just about economics; it is also about the human person, and thus challenges us to a «radical change in perspective,» says one Vatican official.

Archbishop Antonio Vegliò, president of the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers, spoke of this challenge today when he announced the upcoming conference hosted by this dicastery.

The archbishop said the risk today is for the discussion on globalization to be seen «almost exclusively with reference to the economic-financial sphere, characterized by the amount of international aid and the degree of trade liberalization.»

«But,» he said, «we know, as Christians, that life’s core is fundamentally spiritual and that the challenge is how to promote and safeguard every human person, preferring the most vulnerable, precisely people like, among others, migrants and refugees.»

The pontifical council conference will be the sixth of its kind. It is scheduled for next Monday through Thursday, and will consider the theme: «A pastoral response to the phenomenon of migration in the era of globalization. Five years after the Instruction ‘Erga Migrantes Caritas Christi.'»

Archbishop Vegliò said the challenge in a globalized society is «to make a radical change in perspective, by making a clear ‘choice for the human person,’ giving them back the place that God has assigned to them within the one family of peoples, ‘image and likeness’ of the Creator.»


The Vatican official suggested that this perspective change is made concrete in relation to migrants in «the value of welcome.»

He said this value is carried out with respect for persons of different nationalities, ethnicities and religions, and «contributes to rendering visible the authentic physiognomy of the Church itself.»

«The Church,» the archbishop affirmed, «is close to migrants, especially to the victims of human trafficking, to refugees, to asylum seekers, and to the people who suffer the tragedy of human mobility.»

This closeness translates into defending the cause of migrants, he added, «also through a collaboration in promoting adequate laws, at the local and international levels, that favor proper integration.»

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