Pope calls for bold, creative response to global migration

Pope Francis listens to families inside the Metropolitan Cathedral in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015. Pope Francis left Cuba on Tuesday for his first trip to the U.S., wrapping up a four-day visit to the communist island with an appeal to the people to rediscover their Catholic heritage and live a "revolution of tenderness." (Tony Gentile/Pool via AP)


VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis called Monday for a bold and creative strategy to deal with global migration, insisting that Europe has the means and “moral responsibility” to welcome refugees without sacrificing its security or culture.

In a speech to the Holy See’s diplomatic corps, Francis lamented the distinction made between refugees fleeing persecution and migrants fleeing poverty, saying both deserve international protection.

Human history has been marked by great waves of migration, and that humanity today must not let security fears replace the principles of respecting the dignity of others, he said.

“Europe has the means to defend the centrality of the human person and to find the right balance between its twofold moral responsibility to protect the rights of its citizens and to ensure assistance and acceptance to migrants,” he said.

He called for a frank and respectful dialogue to begin among countries of migrants’ origin, transit and reception “so that with greater boldness and creativity, new and sustainable solutions can be sought.”

Francis has made migration the top priority of his pontificate: His first trip outside Rome as pope was to the Italian island of Lampedusa, where he celebrated Mass in honor of the thousands of people who have died crossing the Mediterranean and denounced the “globalization of indifference” that the world had shown to people fleeing their homes for better lives abroad.

On subsequent trips, Francis has visited refugee camps, while closer to home he has opened the Vatican’s doors to two refugee families and called on parishes around the world to do the same.

Francis devoted nearly his entire speech Monday to the issue, showing the importance it has in the Holy See’s foreign policy under the first Latin American pope, who ministered to Paraguayan migrants in the slums of Buenos Aires before his election.

In his speech, Francis acknowledged fears about security in the wake of extremist attacks in Europe, Asia and elsewhere. But he said those fears should not result in Europe losing its values of solidarity and humanity.

“Human history is made up of countless migrations, sometimes out of an awareness of the right to choose freely, and often dictated by external circumstances,” he said. Citing Biblical accounts, Francis said today’s migrants are “possessed of the same determination which Moses had to reach a land flowing with milk and honey.”

___

Follow Nicole Winfield at http://www.twitter.com/nwinfield

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

WTNH NEWS8 provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Also, you can now block any inappropriate user by simple selecting the drop down menu on the right of any comment and selection "Block User" from there.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s