September 23 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Each refugee is more than just a number

This week’s editorial leader

It is easy to pat ourselves on the back in Scotland as we read headlines about how many Syrian refugees our country has welcomed into our communities. But we cannot rest on our laurels—Pope Francis gave us a wake up call this week when he reminded us that refugees are more than just a number.

“Tragically, in the world today, more than 65 million people were forced to leave their places of residence,” the Pope said, adding that ‘each refugee is not just a number, but a person with a name, a face, a story.’

Each migrant is an individual, with an idiosyncratic personality, flaws and attributes, just like anyone else.

When we read about shantytown refugee camps in France, or in Turkey, or of families making the perilous journey across dangerous water, imagine your own son, or granddaughter or friend, or the person sitting next to you in the pew, making that same journey.


In Immaculate Conception parish in Maryhill, the person sitting next to you in the pew may just have made that journey. The parish recently welcomed two Catholic Syrians to Mass, to compliment the many nationalities that already make up the congregation.

The parish adopted a very simple idea: to wear a safety pin to show support for refugees. It is a very simple, but visible, sign—one Bishop John Keenan of Paisley has flagged up in the past.

But whether you wear a safety pin or not, show your support or think further about the many complexities of the issue, keep in mind Pope Francis’ words this week, about the choice we can provide refugees who come to our shore: a cold street, or warmth and humanity.


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