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Australia Bishops: overcoming fear toward migrants and refugees

The Catholic Church in Australia is celebrating the Week of Migrants and Refugees, from 19 to 25 August. Fear, the bishops say, deprives us of an opportunity to encounter the Lord in others.

By Vatican News

The message for the occasion is signed by the Delegate of the Australian Bishops for Migrants and Refugees, Bishop Max Davis. In it, he recalls the theme of Pope Francis’ message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees which will be celebrated on September 29, on the theme: "It is not just about migrants”.

Dignity and safety

“Migration and seeking refuge have been a part of human experience from the earliest times of recorded history”, writes Bishop Davis. He goes on to reflect on how the movement of people can be provoked by a number of circumstances: whether it be “seeking a more suitable environment in which our inherent dignity can flourish further”, or being forced to move “because threats to that dignity and personal safety are so great that another place must be found”.

Fear and selfishness

Bishop Davis goes on to say that “by examining our own attitudes, reactions and actions to migrants and refugees”, we can compare and assess how genuinely we accept the values of the Gospel. He gives concrete examples of how fear “deprives us of an opportunity to encounter the Lord in others”, of how we express charity and compassion, or how selfishness can lead us to putting ourselves first.

Not just about migrants

The issue of migrants and refugees, continues Bishop Davis, is both relevant and timely. He encourages the Church in Australia “to step up and do everything we can through thought, prayer and action to show forth, with courage, that we are all responding to God’s call to be truly human and to embrace each other with the same dignity and value that God has for each one of us”. 

23 August 2019, 12:23