BY Ian Dunn | January 11 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Pontiff to diplomats: Europe has ‘moral responsibility’ to refugees and migrants

Pope Francis makes issue a priority in speech to Holy See’s diplomatic corps this morning

Pope Francis this morning called on Europe to keep accepting migrants, saying the continent has the means and the ‘moral responsibility’ to welcome refugees without sacrificing security.

In a speech to the Holy See’s diplomatic corps, the Holy Father lamented the distinction made between refugees fleeing persecution and migrants fleeing poverty, saying both deserve international protection.

“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,” the Pope said.

He called for a frank and respectful dialogue to begin among countries of migrants’ origin, transit and reception ‘so that with greater boldness and creativity, new and sustainable solutions can be sought.’

The Pope  devoted nearly his entire speech to the issue, and acknowledged fears about security in the wake of extremist attacks in Europe, Asia and elsewhere. But he said those fears should not result in Europe losing its values of solidarity and humanity.

“Human history is made up of countless migrations, sometimes out of an awareness of the right to choose freely, and often dictated by external circumstances,” he said. Citing Biblical accounts, Francis said today’s migrants are ‘possessed of the same determination which Moses had to reach a land flowing with milk and honey.’



Pic: Pope Francis with immigrants

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