Update: Build peace by welcoming migrants, refugees, pope says in message

By Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Exploiting a fear of migrants and
refugees for political gain increases the possibility of violence and
discrimination and does nothing to build a culture of peace, Pope Francis said
in his message for World Peace Day 2018.

“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,” the pope said in the
message, which was released by the Vatican Nov. 24.

The pope chose “Migrants and refugees: Men and women in
search of peace” as the theme for the celebration Jan. 1, 2018. The
message is delivered by Vatican nuncios to heads of state and government around
the world.

Presenting the message to the media, Father Bruno Marie
Duffe, secretary of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development,
said, “It is clear peace begins with saving lives and taking care of
people who are trying to escape wars, discrimination, persecution, poverty and
climate disasters.”

As work continues on the U.N. Global Compact on Refugees and
the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, Pope Francis urged
the international community not to surrender “to cynicism and to the
globalization of indifference.”

Countries at the U.N. General Assembly voted in September
2016 to develop the compacts; after meetings around the world, a draft of each
compact is scheduled to be released in February and a final vote is scheduled
for September 2018.

In his message, which was signed Nov. 13, the feast of St.
Frances Cabrini, patron of migrants, Pope Francis said thinking about peace
naturally meant thinking about “those who most keenly suffer its

International organizations estimate there are some 250
million international migrants around the globe and that about 22.5 million of
them are refugees, who have fled war, violence or persecution.

In their search for a place where they can live in peace, the
pope said, many are “willing to risk their lives on a journey that is
often long and perilous, to endure hardships and suffering, and to encounter
fences and walls built to keep them far from their goal.”

Pope Francis acknowledged the right and obligation of
countries to protect their borders and wisely allocate their resources,
including those dedicated to resettling migrants and refugees. But the pope
also insisted that basic human decency requires sheltering those whose dignity
is at risk.

Jesuit Father Michael Czerny, undersecretary of the Migrants
and Refugee Section of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human
Development, told reporters the “prudence” Pope Francis is calling
for involves discernment and wise direction. He compared it to the
responsibility parents exercise in running a household.

“Prudent parents respond and allocate resources
wisely,” he told reporters. “If resources are inadequate, they adjust
goals. They obviously do not expel members who seem overly needy. What kind of
family would do that? And yet that is what the human family sometimes seems to
do to asylum seekers and refugees.”

In the message, the pope also said that welcoming migrants and
refugees actually contributes to peace and benefits host countries.

Migrants and refugees “do not arrive empty-handed. They
bring their courage, skills, energy and aspirations, as well as the treasures
of their own cultures; and in this way, they enrich the lives of the nations
that receive them,” he said.

When people in need are welcomed and valued, “seeds of
peace” begin to sprout, the pope said. “Our cities, often divided and
polarized by conflicts regarding the presence of migrants and refugees, will thus
turn into workshops of peace.”

As he said in a message released earlier for the World Day
of Migrants and Refugees 2018, coordinated plans for “welcoming,
protecting, promoting and integrating” newcomers are essential for helping
asylum seekers, refugees, migrants and victims of human trafficking find the
peace they seek.

“‘Welcoming’ calls for expanding legal pathways for
entry and no longer pushing migrants and displaced people toward countries
where they face persecution and violence. It also demands balancing our
concerns about national security with concern for fundamental human rights,”
Pope Francis said in the peace day message.

Countries have a moral obligation as well as a legal
obligation under international law to protect those fleeing from real danger,
he said. And no one should forget the very high and very real risk of
exploitation faced by migrating women and children.

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, a Vatican diplomat, told
reporters that to reach the goal of peaceful coexistence “relations among
nations must change and be based on: solidarity; dialogue instead of force,
which explodes in conflict; policies of collaboration; and the participation of
everyone in the benefits of technology, access to markets” and other
factors that allow them to live a dignified life.

“Peace flourishes where there is less inequality and
injustice,” the archbishop said. “And when there is less inequality
and injustice, there is also less migration and people can exercise their right
of not having to migrate.”

Pope Francis prayed that the global compacts would be “inspired
by compassion, foresight and courage, so as to take advantage of every
opportunity to advance the peace-building process. Only in this way can the
realism required of international politics avoid surrendering to cynicism and
to the globalization of indifference.”

– – –

Copyright © 2017 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

Original Article