Pope Francis WIKIMEDIA COMMONS - Jeffrey Bruno


Francis Appeals for an “End to the Causes of Forced Migrations”

In an Interview with the Bi-Monthly Libertacivili” of the Italian Ministry of the Interior, the Pope Talks about Migrants and the Church’s Commitment

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“We must not lose the sense of fraternal responsibility. The defense of the human being knows no barriers; we are all united in wanting to guarantee a fitting life to every man, woman <and> child constrained to abandon his own land. There is no difference of creed that can oppose this will,” said the Pope.
The interview given by Pope Francis to Libertacivili — bi-monthly of studies and documentation on the topic of immigration, edited by the Italian Ministry of the Interior –, revolves around the question of migrants, connected to that of cooperation and integral development, as well as the role played by the Church in this realm.
Underlined in the January-February 2017 issue of the publication, is that Pope Francis is “the moral and civil reference of a vision of the world founded on the value of solidarity,” a reference that was developed through a series of significant gestures, such as that of going to Lesbos, point of European landing of migrants from southern coasts of the Mediterranean.
The Pontiff talks about that visit, carried out together with the Archbishop of Athens Ieronymos and the Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew “a fraternal sharing and of closeness, to the cry of so many innocents who only ask to be able to save their life,” he says. According to the Bishop of Rome, “fraternal sharing with other Confessions appeals to the conscience not to turn one’s back to the request of help and to the hope of brothers and sisters in difficulty, he adds.
Hence, Pope Francis’ is an appeal to the Civil Authorities: “If the same union was adopted also by rulers of different countries, then, perhaps, a more concrete step could be taken at the global level for the migrants and the refugees. The islands of Lesbos and Lampedusa reveal to the world the face of innocent persons fleeing war, violence and persecutions.”
Highlighting the “critical moment in the managing of migratory policies” that Europe is going through– and not only Europe–, Francis invites rulers to have “farsightedness” and “cohesion” for “a watchful respect of the fundamental rights of the person and to put an end to the causes of forced migration that obliges civilians to flee.”
Moreover, he adds, ”if managed with humanity, migrations offer an opportunity.” Therefore, the Holy Father invites countries “that have experienced in their own flesh immigration and emigration,” to make a treasure of the past. “How difficult it was after the War for millions of Europeans who often left with all the family and crossed the Ocean to land in South America or in the United States! It was not an easy experience for them either. They suffered the weight of being considered foreigners, who arrived from far away and without any knowledge of the local language. It was not an easy process of integration, but it always ended in success! Therefore, it is important to be conscious of the contribution made by migrants to the country of arrival,” he continues.
For Her part, the Church is committed, as was established the Section of Migrants and Refugees within the new Dicastery for the Service of Integral Human Development, desired by the Pope personally. Bergoglio explains that the “principal mission of the Section is to support the Church and Pastors – at the local, regional and international level – in the accompaniment of persons at every stage of the migratory process, with particular care of those that, in different ways are constrained to get married or flee, and who live hardships and suffering in the countries of origin, transit and destination.”
It is not enough to receive migrants; it is necessary to integrate them to avoid harmful as well as dangerous ‘ghettoization.’” See then that the one who arrives is asked not to close himself to the culture and the traditions of the host country, respecting first of all its laws.” In regard to native populations, “they are helped by sensitizing them appropriately and disposing them positively to integrative processes, not always simple and immediate, but always essential and indispensable for the future,” adds Bergoglio. Then he addresses an appeal to the Christian community, recalling that “the peaceful integration of persons of various cultures is also, in some way, a reflection on its Catholicity, given that unity, which does not cancel ethnic and cultural diversities, constitutes a dimension of the life of the Church, which, in the Spirit of Pentecost, is open to all and desires to embrace all.”
Finally, the Pope speaks of the role of the media, which has the duty to report the “different aspects of migrations”: the violation of human rights, the violent conflicts in social disorders, the lack of essential goods, the natural disasters and those caused by man. He points out that often it is the very organs of information that “use negative stereotypes when speaking of migrants and refugees.” In this connection, the Pope holds as incorrect to speak of “clandestine” as a synonym of “migrant.”
“Without thinking, then, of the sensationalism to which a great part of the media points today. A criminal event makes more headlines than an account of good news. And so, it is more favorable to speak of some criminal cases that see a migrant as the protagonist, rather than reporting the many cases of integration promoted by the migrant themselves.” Francis is all for “good information,” which can “pull down the walls of fear and indifference.”

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