Politicial racism condemned, migrants welcomed

In a message the Vatican translated into eight languages, Pope Francis has sharp words for politicians he says are stoking racism.

Migration has become a top political issue in many countries including the United States, Italy, Australia and Germany.

Francis’s speech was released in the lead-up to the 2018 World Day of Peace which will be celebrated on New Year’s Day.

In it he says politicians should realise migrants move out of desperation “when their own countries offer neither safety nor opportunity, and every legal pathway appears impractical, blocked or too slow”.

He said he has noticed many countries accepting migrants and refugees have seen “the spread of rhetoric decrying the risks posed to national security or the high cost of welcoming new arrivals.

“Those who – for what may be political reasons – foment fear of migrants instead of building peace, are sowing violence, racial discrimination and xenophobia, which are matters of great concern for all those concerned for the safety of every human being.”

Rather than take the negative viewpoint, Francis said nations should “welcome, protect and integrate” migrants.

Put into action, this would mean the world, and particularly Christians, must approach the issue with a “contemplative gaze”.

This should go beyond polemics and be guided by justice and solidarity, helping to build peace at both the global and local level, he continued.

Using this perspective would help politicians, he pointed out.

“Those who see things in this way will be able to recognise the seeds of peace that are already sprouting and nurture their growth.”

Francis also praised the “creativity, tenacity and spirit of sacrifice” displayed by the many people, families and communities … who “open their doors and hearts to migrants and refugees, even where resources are scarce.”

While Francis acknowledged immigrants can sometimes “compound numerous existing problems” and leaders have a “clear responsibility towards their own communities”, he said practical ways had to be found to welcome newcomers.

Migrants can also enrich society with their cultures, skills and energy, he pointed out.

Francis also urged the United Nations to make “compassion, foresight and courage” the foundations for global compacts on migration and refugees that the world body is preparing for next year.

“Only in this way can the realism required of international politics avoid surrendering to cynicism and to the globalisation of indifference,” he said.


Additional reading

News category: World.

Tags: , , , ,