Welcoming refugees protects us from terrorism, Pope says

Welcoming refugees with authentic hospitality is “our greatest security against hateful acts of terrorism”, Pope Francis says.

He was speaking to alumni of Jesuit schools in Europe who were in Rome for a conference on refugees.

The pope said: “I encourage you to welcome refugees into your homes and communities, so that their first experience of Europe is not the traumatic experience of sleeping cold on the streets, but one of warm welcome.”

He said each refugee “has a name, a face and a story, as well as an inalienable right to live in peace and to aspire to a better future” for their children.

“At this place and time in history, there is great need for men and women who hear the cry of the poor and respond with mercy and generosity,” the pope told a group of Jesuit alumni Sept. 17.

He noted how there are “tragically more than 65 million” forcibly displaced persons around the globe, calling the number “unprecedented” and “beyond all imagination.”

“The displaced population of today’s world is now larger than the entire population of Italy,” he said, but cautioned that beyond the statistics, each refugee is no different from our own families.

Pope Francis spoke to members of the European Confederation and World Union of Jesuit Alumni and Alumnae present in Rome for a Sept. 14-16 conference titled “Global Migration and Refugee Crisis: Time to Contemplate and Act.”

Throughout their conference, the group was accompanied by the Jesuit Refugee Service, which was founded in 1980 by Fr. Pedro Arrupe, superior general of the Jesuits while Pope Francis was a young priest.



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