Teach students role of justice in migration, pope says

IMAGE: CNS/L’Osservatore Romano

By Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Catholic universities need to study
the root causes of forced migration and ways to counter the discrimination and
xenophobic reactions it provokes in so many traditionally Christian nations,
Pope Francis said.

“I would also like to invite Catholic universities
to teach their students, some of whom will become leaders in politics, business
and culture, a careful reading of the phenomenon of migration from the point of
view of justice, global co-responsibility and communion in cultural
diversity,” he said.

The pope made his remarks during an audience Nov. 4 with
members of the International Federation of Catholic Universities, who were
attending a world congress in Rome Nov. 1-4 titled, “Refugees and Migrants
in a Globalized World: Responsibility and Responses of Universities.”

Pope Francis praised the organization’s efforts in the
fields of research, formation and promoting social justice.

He called for more study “on the remote causes of
forced migrations with the aim of finding practical solutions” because
people have a right to not be forced to leave their homes.

“It is also important to reflect on the basic
negative — sometimes even discriminatory and xenophobic — reactions that the
welcoming of migrants is provoking in countries with a long-standing Christian
tradition” in order to develop programs and ways to better form
consciences, he said.

Pope Francis also called on Catholic universities to
develop programs that would allow refugees living in camps and holding centers
to take distance-learning courses and to grant them scholarships.

Efforts also are needed, he said, to recognize the
academic degrees and qualifications migrants and refugees have earned in their
homelands so that their new countries may better benefit from their knowledge.

Catholic universities, as leaders in promoting the social
good, must do more, he said, for example, by encouraging students to volunteer
to assist refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants.

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