Pope: migration invites us to focus on unity of humanity

During the 6th World Congress for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Refugees at the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI said the phenomenon of migration “has assumed immense importance,” noting how “the economic divide between poor countries and industrialized countries is growing ever wider.”

Many people, he said, “are forced to abandon their own lands and communities of origin; willing to accept work in conditions that in no way accord with human dignity,”

“Many migrants abandon their countries to flee from humanly unacceptable living conditions, yet without finding elsewhere the welcome they were hoping for. Faced with situations of such complexity, how can we not stop and reflect on the consequences of a society founded exclusively on material growth?”

“True development,” the Pope continued, “always has the characteristic of solidarity. … It is necessary to find adequate responses to the great social changes taking place, clearly bearing in mind that there can be no effective development if we do not support encounter among peoples, dialogue between cultures and respect for legitimate differences. From this point of view,” he added, “why not consider the current worldwide phenomenon of migration as a situation favorable to understanding between peoples, and to the building of peace and a form of development that involves all nations?”

“Migrations invite us to focus on the unity of the human family, the value of acceptance, hospitality and love for others,” This, the Pope concluded, “is why the Church invites the faithful to open their hearts to migrants and their families, in the knowledge that they are not just a ‘problem,’ but also a ‘resource’ that must be appropriately used for the progress of human beings and their authentic development.”

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