VATICAN CITY, NOV. 21, 2003 (Zenit.org).- A recurring theme at the 5th World Congress for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Refugees has been to see Christ in the migrant.
Archbishop Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, outgoing president of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar, said that the challenge facing the world today is to “globalize charity.”
Christians must “take up the way of Christ for a more fraternal, solidaristic and welcoming world,” the archbishop told the symposium at the Vatican which ends Saturday.
“Christ is the poor one who suffers hunger and thirst,” the archbishop of Kisangani, Congo, stressed. “The Lord will judge us according to our reaction to the poverty and misery of our neighbor, and by our sense of hospitality.”
Archbishop Monsengwo Pasinya, whose city in recent months has endured armed conflicts, exhorted his audience to combat “peacefully” against “warlords” and the “makers of refugees.”
In this connection, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, former Vatican secretary for relations with states, lamented that in the world “there is growing interest in the topic of security while attention to humanitarian problems, including financial, is diminishing.”
After “September 11 and its consequences, a heavy mortgage hinders respect for human rights,” Cardinal Tauran said.
The congress, at the Augustinianum Patristic Institute of Rome, has gathered 300 experts in the pastoral care and attention to migrants, as well as delegates of other churches and Christian communities of 99 countries.
The congress was organized by the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers.