By Sr Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp
Pope Francis sent a message to the 8th World Social Forum on Migrants. The Forum is taking place in Mexico City from 2-4 November. “Migrate, Resist, Build and Transform” is the theme of the Forum. The Pope took the opportunity to encourage the “positive transformation” of society so as to give a voice to the voiceless.
Migrate, Resist, Build, Transform
Pope Francis begins his message by referring to the Forum’s theme, which he compares to the words of the Prophet Jeremiah. God sends Jeremiah “to uproot and to tear down, to destroy and to demolish, to build and to plant” (1:10). Today, the Pope continues, “there are evils to be eradicated, injustices to be obliterated, privileges to be overthrown, dignities to be reconstructed, and values to be planted”.
Positive transformation of society
The Pope proposes that the “positive transformation” of society is based on the rejection of injustice. Opposition to the “throwaway culture”, which the Pope called a “pandemic” disease, is the “first act of justice”. It gives a voice to the voiceless, he continues. Among these voiceless are migrants and refugees, those whom society ignores, exploits, rapes and abuses through “the guilty silence of many”.
In addition to denouncing injustice, identifying “concrete and viable solutions” is necessary, Pope Francis wrote in the message. That means building “inclusive and fair societies, capable of restoring dignity to those living in great uncertainty who cannot dream of a better world”.
“I would like to take this opportunity,” the Pope continues, “to encourage civil organizations and popular movements to collaborate in the mass dissemination” of the Global Compact for Refugees and Migrants and the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. He also encourages such organizations and movements to “promote a more equitable sharing of responsibilities” in providing assistance to those seeking asylum and to refugees. Likewise, Pope Francis says, they need to provide decisive action so as to “identify victims of human trafficking promptly”, as well as “doing everything possible to liberate and rehabilitate them”.
Our Lady of Guadalupe
Invoking the intercession of “the intercession of the Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe”, Pope Francis asks “that she might care for and sustain with her material support” those activities that favour “migrants, refugees, and displaced persons”.
“God bless your work in the coming days”, the message concludes.
About the World Social Forum on Migrants
The World Social Forum on Migrants seeks to address seven topics directly related to migration: human rights, borders, policies, capitalism, gender, climate change and transnational dynamics. In so doing, the Forum wants to build a society more favourable to the protection of migrants and their families, as well as their rights. To this end, the Forum also includes migrants themselves in discussions regarding their needs, expectations, and solutions.