Pope Calls for Dialogue on Immigration Tension

Says It Is Possible to Overcome Suspicion, Prejudice

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Pope Francis on Sunday said that the various parties involved in conflicts linked to immigration have to come together and talk, “even in a room in the parish” so as to avoid the “temptation of confrontation.”

The Pope said this at the end of his address after praying the midday Angelus on Sunday with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

In Rome over the last few days, there have been protests in poor areas of the city where migrant reception centers are also operating. Residents in Tor Sapienza are accusing immigrants of crimes including drug trafficking.

“In these days in Rome there have been very strong tensions between residents and immigrants. These are events that have happened in various European cities, especially in outlying neighborhoods marked by other hardships,” the Pope noted. 

“I invite the institutions, at all levels, to take as a priority that which now constitutes a social emergency and that, if not addressed promptly and in an adequate way, risks becoming worse.”

Pope Francis has made the plight of immigrants a prominent theme of his pontificate. 

“The Christian community is committed to this in a concrete way, so that there may be an encounter and not confrontation. Citizens and immigrants, with the representatives of institutions, can meet each other, even in a room in the parish, to talk together about the situation,” the Pope affirmed. “The important thing is to not give in to the temptation of confrontation, to reject all violence. It is possible to dialogue, to listen, to plan together, And in this way overcome suspicion and prejudice and build a more secure, peaceful and inclusive coexistence.”

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