The message, which can be read in full on the Vatican website was issued in August.
In the message Pope Francis says:
“You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God” (Leviticus 19:34).
Throughout the first years of my pontificate, I have repeatedly expressed my particular concern for the lamentable situation of many migrants and refugees fleeing from war, persecution, natural disasters and poverty. This situation is undoubtedly a “sign of the times” which I have tried to interpret, with the help of the Holy Spirit, ever since my visit to Lampedusa on 8 July 2013. When I instituted the new Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, I wanted a particular section – under my personal direction for the time being – to express the Church’s concern for migrants, displaced people, refugees and victims of human trafficking.
Every stranger who knocks at our door is an opportunity for an encounter with Jesus Christ, who identifies with the welcomed and rejected strangers of every age (Matthew 25:35-43). The Lord entrusts to the Church’s motherly love every person forced to leave their homeland in search of a better future. This solidarity must be concretely expressed at every stage of the migratory experience – from departure through journey to arrival and return. This is a great responsibility, which the Church intends to share with all believers and men and women of good will, who are called to respond to the many challenges of contemporary migration with generosity, promptness, wisdom and foresight, each according to their own abilities.
In this regard, I wish to reaffirm that “our shared response may be articulated by four verbs: to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate”.
Also published last month was Responding to Refugees and Migrants: Twenty Action Points, a call from the Catholic Church to national governments around the world to do more in the face of humanitarian emergencies and the reality of global mass displacement.
The paper was written by the Vatican’s Section on Migrants & Refugees (Dicastery for promoting Integral Human Development), which operates under the direction of His Holiness Pope Francis. The document will contribute to the global compacts on refugees and migration which are currently being drafted and expected to be adopted at the UN General Assembly in September 2018. The Catholic Church urges nation states to do more:
- To Welcome: Enhancing Safe and Legal Channels for Migrants and Refugees
- To Protect: Ensuring Migrants’ and Refugees’ Rights and Dignity
- To Promote: Advancing Migrants’ and Refugees’ Integral Human Development
- To Integrate: Enriching Communities through Wider Participation of Migrants and Refugees
For more information, see the website of Justice and Peace Scotland.