By Devin Watkins
Pope Francis on Thursday said the “life experiences and values” of migrants can contribute to the enrichment of society.
He made the remarks in a message sent on Thursday to the 2nd Conference on International Migration hosted by the Holy See and Mexico.
The Pope’s message was read out by Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States, at the event in the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences.
Migrants: enrichment to society
Pope Francis encouraged participants in their efforts “to ground responsibility for the shared global management of international migration in the values of justice, solidarity, and compassion.”
He said a change of mindset is required to see migrants as a benefit to society.
“We must move from considering others as threats to our comfort to valuing them as persons whose life experience and values can contribute greatly to the enrichment of our society,” he said.
The Pope said we are called “to encounter the other, to welcome, to know, and to acknowledge him or her.”
Persons, not numbers
Pope Francis told the conference that the main issue surrounding migration is not one of numbers but of persons, who have their own culture and aspirations.
“These persons, our brothers and sisters,” he said, “need ‘ongoing protection’, independently of whatever migrant status they may have.”
Tear down walls
He said their fundamental rights and dignity must be protected, especially those of migrant children.
“All of them hope that we will have the courage to tear down the wall of ‘comfortable and silent complicity’ that worsens their helplessness; they are waiting for us to show them concern, compassion, and devotion,” he said.
Finally, Pope Francis said migrants should be accepted “as our brothers and sisters” and given an opportunity “to live in dignity and peace.”