Francis: Nourish Hope in Refugees, Migrants

Recalls That for the Church, No One Is a Stranger

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Pope Francis says we are all called to nourish hope in the hearts of refugees and migrants who are forced to leave their homelands in pursuit of a normal life.

The Pope said this today when he addressed the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers.

The theme of the assembly was “The Pastoral Concern of the Church in the Context of Forced Migrations.” The council published a document on refugees and those forcefully uprooted, calling attention also to the plague of human trafficking.

Human trafficking, the Pontiff said, is “a disgrace for our societies that call themselves civilized! Exploiters and clients at all levels should make a serious examination of conscience before themselves and before God!”

“In a world where there is much talk of rights, how many times human dignity is trampled,” the Pope lamented. “In a world where there is so much talk of rights, it seems the only one that has them is money. Dear brothers and sisters, we live in a world where money commands. We live in a world, in a culture where the fetishism of money reigns.”

For the Church, instead, no one is a stranger. “We are in fact only one human family that, in the multiplicity of its differences, walks towards unity, valuing solidarity and dialogue between peoples,” he said.

“I would like to invite all to receive in their eyes and heart the refugees and persons forcefully uprooted and to give them the light of hope,” Francis added. “Hope that is expressed in expectations for the future, in the desire for friendly relations, in the desire to participate in the society that receives them, also through learning the language, access to work and education for the littlest ones. I admire the courage of the one who waits to be able to take up again, gradually, a normal life, in the hope that joy and love will make glad his existence. We all can and must nourish this hope!”

He called on political leaders and legislators to implement initiatives to protect human dignity and improve quality of life.

“It is, I stress, about human persons, who appeal to solidarity and assistance, who are in need of urgent interventions, but also and above all of understanding and goodness. God is good; let us imitate God,” he said. “Their condition cannot leave us indifferent. And we, as Church, recall that by curing the wounds of refugees, of the dispersed and of victims of trafficking we put into practice the commandment of charity that Jesus left us, when He identified Himself with the foreigner, with one who suffers, with all innocent victims of violence and exploitation.”

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