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Pope: Silence and Indifference to Migrant Crisis Lead to Complicity

01 Oct 2015 – By Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Indifference to the crises and tragedies today’s migrants and refugees are facing lead to complicity when people remain silent or refuse to act, Pope Francis said.

Jesus’ call to welcome the stranger and show mercy is clear, the pope said in a message released at the Vatican on 1 October.

“Yet there continue to be debates about the conditions and limits to be set for the reception of migrants, not only on the level of national policies, but also in some parish communities, whose traditional tranquility seems to be threatened,” he said.

The pope made the comments in his message for the 2016 World Day for Migrants and Refugees, which will be celebrated 17 January in most countries. In the United States, National Migration Week will be celebrated from 4 to 9 January.

Pope Francis chose ”Migrants and Refugees Challenge Us. The Response of the Gospel of Mercy” as the theme for next year’s commemoration.

All migrants are ”our brothers and sisters in search of a better life, far away from poverty, hunger, exploitation and the unjust distribution of the planet’s resources, which are meant to be equitably shared by all,” the pope said in his message.

They are seeking the same thing everyone seeks, he said, ”a better, more decent and prosperous life to share with our loved ones.”

“Unacceptable humanitarian crises” in many parts of the world force greater numbers of people to flee for their lives, he said.

But ”indifference and silence lead to complicity whenever we stand by as people are dying of suffocation, starvation, violence and shipwreck.”

“Whether large or small in scale, these are always tragedies, even when a single human life is lost,” the pope said.

“Today, more than in the past, the Gospel of mercy troubles our consciences, prevents us from taking the suffering of others for granted, and points out a way of responding” with practical works of spiritual and corporal mercy, the pope said in his message.

Communities who welcome migrants are seriously challenged by the influx, but with proper motivation, management and regulation, they can find ways to integrate newcomers with their different cultures in ways that are mutually beneficial and prevent racism and discrimination, he said.

While newcomers have a right to preserve their cultural identity, they, too, have responsibilities, he said, as they must respect the “material and spiritual heritage of the host country, obeying its laws and helping with its needs.”

In his message, the pope said people also have a right not to be forced to emigrate and he called for greater efforts in preventing and stopping the causes of mass migrations. Greater solidarity, cooperation and a more equitable distribution of the earth’s resources will help eliminate the kind of imbalances that lead people to abandon their homeland, he said.

At a news conference to present the papal message, a Vatican official said that, unfortunately, offering concrete help and effective solutions is easier said than done.





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