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Pope calls for bold migration strategy

by Our Foreign Desk

POPE FRANCIS called for a bold and creative strategy yesterday to deal with global migration, insisting that Europe has the means and “moral responsibility” to welcome refugees without sacrificing security or culture.

The pontiff lamented the distinction made between refugees fleeing persecution and migrants fleeing poverty, saying that both deserve protection.

Human history has been marked by great waves of migration and humanity must not let security fears replace the principles of respecting the dignity of others today, he said.

“Europe has the means to defend the centrality of the human person and to find the right balance between its twofold moral responsibility to protect the rights of its citizens and to ensure assistance and acceptance to migrants,” he said.

Francis urged that a frank and respectful dialogue begin among countries of migrants’ origin, transit and reception “so that with greater boldness and creativity, new and sustainable solutions can be sought.”

When he was appointed in 2013 the Pope’s first official trip outside Rome was to the island of Lampedusa, where he celebrated mass in honour of the thousands of people who have died crossing the Mediterranean.

He took the opportunity to denounce the “globalisation of indifference” that the world had shown to people fleeing their homes for better lives abroad.

He has subsequently visited refugee camps and opened the Vatican’s doors to two refugee families, recommending that Catholic parishes around the world do the same.

He acknowledged fears about security in the wake of extremist attacks, but he said that those fears should not result in Europe losing values of solidarity and humanity.

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