Pope: Human person should be focus of migration issues
By Devin Watkins
The 8th Migration Festival has kicked off in the Italian city of Modena under the theme: “Free to leave, free to stay”.
Pope Francis sent a message on Wednesday to participants in the event organized by the Migrantes Foundation of the Italian Bishops’ Conference.
He noted that the theme draws on his 2023 Message for the 109th World Day of Migrants and Refugees and its heading “Free to choose whether to migrate or to stay”.
Centrality of human person
The Pope applauded the conference’s aim to reflect on the challenges of migration, which he said will “go beyond the emergency to the awareness that we find ourselves in the face of a polyhedric, articulated, global, and long-term phenomenon.”
“Our responses to the challenges of migration today,” he added, “need to be equally well-articulated, global, and long-term.”
Pope Francis invited everyone involved in the issue of migration to reaffirm “the centrality of the human person in the political discussion, paying special attention to people who are most vulnerable, such as women and minors.”
“The principle of the human person’s primacy and inviolable dignity ‘obliges us to always prioritise personal safety over national security’,” he said, recalling his message for the 2018 World Migrants Day.
Favouring safe and legal migration
The Pope encouraged Church leaders and politicians to offer proposals that favour safe and legal migration, in order to combat exploitation by human traffickers and organized crime.
“It is likewise necessary to indicate safer routes,” he said. “This means that efforts must be made to expand regular migration channels.”
Pope Francis also recalled that men and women everywhere must also enjoy the right to choose not to migrate, and called for efforts to guarantee people that right by eliminating its causes.
“We need to make every effort,” he concluded, “to halt the arms race, economic colonialism, the plundering of other people’s resources, and the devastation of our common home.”
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