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Pope Addresses Situation of Migrants and Refugees in Open Message

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
26 Sep 2013

Pope Francis has released his first message for 'World Day of Migrants and Refugees.' The theme is 'Towards a Better World,' which attempts to send a very clear message of how Christians should deal with the issue of migration and integration.

CARD. ANTONIO MARIA VEGLIO
Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants
"This message encourages us all to find solutions to this problem. To live out our difference with respect. Of giving and receiving refuge and hospitality, all under the umbrella of human dignity."

In his message, the Pope talks about so called 'slave work' which nowadays has become acceptable in areas like agriculture, underground sweat shops and prostitution. He encourages people to have hope. When it comes to finding solutions, the Vatican tries to look at the issue at both the local and international level.

FR. GABRIELE BENTOGLIO
Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants
"We talk to local parishes, commissions and Episcopal conferences to discuss what should be done and how we can intervene and help. How to provide help."

The Pope's message also highlights Benedict XVI's 2009 encyclical, 'Caritas in Veritate,' where political collaboration between an immigrant's native country and his host country is strongly encouraged.

FR. GABRIELE BENTOGLIO
Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants

"Yes there's a crisis in Syria, but we can't forget Africa, or certain Asian countries. We can't forget the massive immigration flux from South and Central America to the U.S and North America."

Even though the Pope's message was released in September, World Day of Migrants is still a few months away. The date will be celebrated on January 19th, 2014. The Pontifical Council on Migration decided to release the message earlier, so that other dioceses and episcopal conferences around the world can plan accordingly.