Christians have the teachings and the responsibility to address growing fear of and discrimination against immigrants and refugees, said speakers opening a Vatican-sponsored conference.
“Welcoming migrants, especially those in danger, is a moral principle whose foundation and strength come from the Gospel and sacred Scripture, and it is part of being Christian, that is, of belonging to Christ,” said Cardinal Peter Turkson, prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.
The cardinal was one of three speakers giving opening remarks Sept. 18 at a conference in Rome on “Xenophobia, Racism and Populist Nationalism in the Context of Global Migration.” The gathering Sept. 18-20 was jointly hosted by the Vatican dicastery and the Geneva-based World Council of Churches in collaboration with the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity…
He asked whether – after 70 years of upholding the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – humanity “has learned how to build a world in which race, sex, color, language, religion, political opinion, national or social origin, wealth or poverty would not be sufficient grounds to justify indifference, marginalization, hatred, exclusion or the rejection of a human being.”
“It pains us to note that when it comes to international migration, too often mistrust and fear prevail over trust and openness toward the other,” yet at the same time, there are many examples of solidarity and compassion being demonstrated as well, he said.
Bishop Brian Farrell, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, said in his opening remarks that “the Christian message and the churches’ experience can contribute considerably to understanding more fully the challenges and opportunities arising from the current phenomenon of mass migrations.”
Christian communities, he said, have a “moral and prophetic mandate” to seek out “constructive and effective ways to oppose xenophobia, racism and populist nationalism.”
“All churches and their members have the responsibility and the mission to promote the objective understanding of human dignity, human rights, social cohesion and integration as an essential instrument for building an inclusive, just and peaceful society,” Farrell said.