Pope Francis: Welcome, Protect, Promote, and Integrate Migrants

Last week, Pope Francis spoke at the International Forum on Migration and Peace:

Rejection is an attitude we all share; it makes us see our neighbor not as a brother or sister to be accepted, but as unworthy of our attention, a rival, or someone to be bent to our will” (Address to the Diplomatic Corps, 12 January 2015).  Faced with this kind of rejection, rooted ultimately in self-centeredness and amplified by populist rhetoric, what is needed is a change of attitude, to overcome indifference and to counter fears with a generous approach of welcoming those who knock at our doors.  For those who flee conflicts and terrible persecutions, often trapped within the grip of criminal organizations who have no scruples, we need to open accessible and secure humanitarian channels.  A responsible and dignified welcome of our brothers and sisters begins by offering them decent and appropriate shelter….

Protecting is not enough.  What is required is the promotion of an integral human development of migrants, exiles and refugees….

Integration, which is neither assimilation nor incorporation, is a two-way process, rooted essentially in the joint recognition of the other’s cultural richness: it is not the superimposing of one culture over another, nor mutual isolation, with the insidious and dangerous risk of creating ghettoes…

We can no longer sustain unacceptable economic inequality, which prevents us from applying the principle of the universal destination of the earth’s goods.  We are all called to undertake processes of apportionment which are respectful, responsible and inspired by the precepts of distributive justice….

One group of individuals cannot control half of the world’s resources.  We cannot allow for persons and entire peoples to have a right only to gather the remaining crumbs.  Nor can we be indifferent or think ourselves dispensed from the moral imperatives which flow from a joint responsibility to care for the planet, a shared responsibility often stressed by the political international community, as also by the Magisterium (cf. Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 9; 163; 189, 406)….

Solidarity is born precisely from the capacity to understand the needs of our brothers and sisters who are in difficulty and to take responsibility for these needs….

The duty of solidarity is to counter the throwaway culture and give greater attention to those who are weakest, poorest and most vulnerable.