Do not give in to fear in helping migrants, pope tells diplomats

By Junno Arocho Esteves

the international community should continue working for peace in war-torn
countries, it also must
work to help migrants escaping violence and persecution as well as those caring
for them, Pope Francis said.

In a speech May 19 to six new
ambassadors to the Holy See, the pope said that while fears of terrorism and
changing a nation’s
culture cannot be dismissed lightly, the concerns must “be addressed in an intelligent and
creative way so that the rights and needs of all are respected and

“We must not allow
misunderstanding and fear to weaken our resolve. Rather, we are called to build
a culture of dialogue, one which enables us to view others as valid dialogue
partners, to respect the foreigner, the immigrant and people from different
cultures as worthy to be listened to,” the pope said.

The presence of the
ambassadors, representing Estonia, Malawi, Seychelles, Thailand, Namibia and
Zambia, is a
reminder of the importance of remaining united “by our common humanity and
shared mission” in caring for society and creation, the pope said.

This unity, he stressed, is more crucial than ever when
the problems of war, forced migration and economic hardship require
“concrete signs of solidarity” with those in need.

The pursuit of peace requires
men and women to work together and become “artisans of peace, promoters of
social justice and advocates of true respect for our common home,” the
pope said.

However, growing fears that
the influx of migrants leads to terrorism, economic instability and cultural
changes makes the world “appear ever more fragmented and

The plight and sufferings of
those fleeing violence must be made known to the world community “so that
as they lack the strength or ability to cry out, their voice may be heard in
our own,” he stressed.

Pope Francis told the
ambassadors that building a culture of dialogue is essential and enriches both
migrants — whose traditions must be respected — and the community that
receives them — whose culture must be preserved.

“If misunderstanding and
fear prevail, something of ourselves dies; our cultures, history and traditions are
weakened; and our
own peace is compromised. When on the other hand, we foster dialogue and
solidarity, both individually and collectively, it is then that we experience
the best of humanity and secure an enduring peace for all as intended by our
Creator,” the pope said.

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Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.

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