VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Catholic Church “is a mother without limits and without borders,” welcoming and assisting all of God’s children, particularly those fleeing violence, oppression and poverty, Pope Francis said.
Addressing the 300 participants in the Vatican-sponsored World Congress on the Pastoral Care of Migrants, the pope said the church’s concern for the whole person motivates its material aid to immigrants and refugees, its offer of legal assistance and, especially, its pastoral outreach and offer of the sacraments.
In the Christian community, he said, “no one is a stranger and, therefore, everyone is worthy of being welcomed and supported.”
For those who have been uprooted from their homelands and face the daunting task of integration into a new society, the pope said, the church is called to be “a source of hope: She develops programs of education and orientation; she raises her voice in defense of migrants’ rights; she offers assistance, including material assistance, to everyone, without exception, so that all may be treated as children of God.”
Migration, he said, benefits migrants and the receiving country, and it stimulates the human conscience by being “a reminder of the need to eradicate inequality, injustice and abuses.”
Acknowledging the “painful and even tragic” travels of migrants toward a new land, Pope Francis said the desperate still see migration as a “journey of hope.”
“Especially in underdeveloped areas of the world, where the lack of work prevents individuals and their families from achieving a dignified life, there is a strong drive to seek a better future wherever that may be, even at the risk of disappointment and failure,” he said. “This is caused in great part by the economic crisis which, to different degrees, is affecting every country in the world.”
Pope Francis said people must recognize the advantages of migration: Host countries get new workers to meet production needs, “not infrequently filling gaps created by the demographic crisis.” The sending country experiences an easing of unemployment and benefit from the economic stimulation of remittances sent home to help their families.
At the same time, he said, the sending countries can suffer a “brain drain” of their best and brightest going abroad, children left at home suffer from not having both parents at home and marriages risk fracturing due to prolonged absences. The receiving countries can experience difficulties with migrants settling in neighborhoods “already problematic,” as well as with integrating the newcomers and helping them learn to respect local social and cultural conventions.
The church’s pastoral workers, the pope said, “play an important role through initiating dialogue, welcoming and assisting with legal issues, mediating with the local population.”
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
PREVIOUS: Re-gifting: Vatican raffles pope gifts to raise money for poor
NEXT: Muslims: Stand up to ISIS militants, patriarch says
Share this story