The Holy See expects to play a leading role in international efforts to address problems of migrants and refugees during 2018, according to Fr Michael Czerny is undersecretary of the Migrants and Refugees office at the Vatican Dicastery for Integral Human Development.
His comments came in a January 2, 2018, interview published by Vatican News. He referred to the Holy Father’s January 1, 2018, message for the 51st observance of World Day of Peace.
Fr Czerny said the message highlights how migrants and refugees are “not just people in difficulty, who need help but are “artisans of peace, contributors to peace, and builders of peace”.
Pope Francis said that peace is a “profound aspiration for everyone,” in his message. The Vatican released the text on November 24, 2017.
Peace is sought “for each individual and all peoples, and especially for those who most keenly suffer its absence.” The Holy Father said. And he stressed: “I constantly keep in my thoughts and prayers, I would once again mention the over 250 million migrants worldwide, of whom 22.5 million are refugees.”
He called on the United Nations to take action on the migration issue during 2018, by creating two Global Compacts: one for safe, orderly and regular migration; and the other for refugees.
“As shared agreements at a global level, these compacts will provide a framework for policy proposals and practical measures,” Francis stated. “For this reason, they need to be inspired by compassion, foresight, and courage, so as to take advantage of every opportunity to advance the peace-building process. Only in this way can the realism required of international politics avoid surrendering to cynicism and to the globalization of indifference.”
Fr Czerny promised that the Vatican missions in New York and Geneva will be actively involved in negotiations leading to the global compacts: “What is very satisfying and hopeful and challenging is that many fellow states, nation-states, look to the Holy See for leadership in this area”.
Fr Michael’s office has worked with major Catholic refugee organizations and with bishops’ conferences to develop 20 action points, which are both “a pastoral plan” and “a negotiating platform”. He said they have been submitted to the UN for both the migrants and refugee processes and have been “warmly welcomed” as “quite outstanding contributions to the processes”.