ROME — Pope Francis called for greater openness to migrants and refugees Sunday, joining the United Nations in celebrating World Day of Refugees.
“Let us open our heart to refugees; let us make their sorrows and their joys our own; let us learn courageous resilience from them!” the popeurgedthe crowds gathered in Saint Peter’s Square for his weekly Angelus message and blessing.
“And in this way, all together, we will make a more human community grow, one big family,” the pontiff added.
Francis has insisted that migrants and refugees represent all those who are excluded, oppressed, and marginalized in today’s society.
“It’s not just about migrants,” he said in his annualmessagefor the World Day of Migrants and Refugees in 2019. It’s about “our fears; it’s about “charity”; it’s about “our humanity”; it’s about “seeing that no one is excluded.”
It’s about “putting the last in the first place,” he continued. It’s about “the whole person, about all people”; it’s about “building the city of God and man”; it’s about “all of us, and about the present and future of the human family.”
The rejection of migrants and refugees is linked to “extreme individualism,” Francis asserted, which in turn leads to a “globalization of indifference.”
“The most economically advanced societies are witnessing a growing trend towards extreme individualism which, combined with a utilitarian mentality and reinforced by the media, is producing a ‘globalization of indifference,’” the pope said.
“In this scenario, migrants, refugees, displaced persons and victims of trafficking have become emblems of exclusion,” he said. “In addition to the hardships that their condition entails, they are often looked down upon and considered the source of all society’s ills.”
“That is why it is not just about migrants,” he said. “When we show concern for them, we also show concern for ourselves, for everyone; in taking care of them, we all grow; in listening to them, we also give voice to a part of ourselves that we may keep hidden because it is not well regarded nowadays.”
In his message, the pope reiterated his conviction that resistance to mass migration is ultimately fueled by fear.