The Vatican on Migration: All Persons are Equal, Well Beyond their Differences

Catholic Relief Services is participating as a partner this week in the 2008 National Migration Conference , which concludes today in Washington. The conference is co-sponsored by the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops/Migration and Refugee Services (USCCB/MRS). More than 850 people from across the country (and beyond) attended the event, which explored the national debate on immigration and the need for comprehensive immigration reform.

Catholic News Service covered the event, focusing on addresses by Cardinals McCarrick and Mahony, who called the current immigration situation in the U.S. “a terrible crisis” and “a dark moment in our nation’s history,” although they “urged participants to hold on to hope in their work with immigrants for local and national church agencies.” John L. Allen Jr. of the National Catholic Reporter has also filed a story on the conference.

Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers, also sent this message on behalf of the Vatican. Here is an excerpt:

In this context the pastoral concern of the Church shows a singular merging of strategies and contents, proposing a course that will respect and build on the person of the migrant: keeping in mind the structural character of migrations, it is then expedient also to develop a political action explicit and comprehensive, that does not turn the immigrant into the scapegoat for other social crucial issues, nor a threat to security and stability. Our Instruction clearly emphasizes this point: “the precarious situation of so many foreigners, which should arouse everyone’s solidarity, instead brings about fear in many, who feel that immigrants are a burden, regard them with suspicion and even consider them a danger and a threat. This often provokes manifestations of intolerance, xenophobia and racism” (EMCC n. 6).

The basis for the action of the Church, instead, is the affirmation that all persons are equal, well beyond the differences deriving from origin, language and culture, in the belief of the unity of the human family. The approach of the Catholic Church, therefore, affirms the central role and sacred character of the human being independently from his/ her regular or irregular legal status, most of all in cases of defenselessness and marginalization, taking also into due account the family. Not only, the Church is more and more convinced that making the most of the ethical-religious dimension of migration is the surest way to reach also other goals of high human and cultural value.

By the way, you might want to check out the CRS website for an educational page on Migration in the Light of Catholic Social Teaching.

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One Response to “The Vatican on Migration: All Persons are Equal, Well Beyond their Differences”

  1. Ruth Mary Paul Says:

    Gladly wish to be link through the website for sponsors,volunteers,more information and resources for migrant workers in Malaysia. Thank You

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