In his 2019 World Day of Migrants and Refugees message, the Holy Father reiteratesMt 18:10). It is not just about migrants: it is a question of seeing that no one is excluded. A globalization of indifference has led to many of us to ignore the cries of the poor, turn our backs on the marginalized, and remain indifferent to those struggling to find a better life. We are called to help create the conditions that will lead to a better life for everyone on the planet.
From January 5-11, 2020, the Catholic Church in the United States will celebrate National Migration Week. The theme for this year’s celebration is “Promoting a Church and a World for All,” which reflects the need for Catholics to be inclusive and welcoming to all our brothers and sisters. It is a call for unity to stand in solidarity with and care for those who are excluded and marginalized.
Welcoming the newcomer and promoting a church for all counters what Pope Francis has referred to as “a globalization of indifference,” which has led to many of us to ignore the cries of the poor, turn our backs on the marginalized, and remain indifferent to those struggling to find a better life. We are called to be an active Church in support of all of God’s children, for “the Church which ‘goes forth’... can move forward, boldly take the initiative, go out to others, seek those who have fallen away, stand at the crossroads and welcome the outcast” (Evangelii Gaudium, 24).
It is with this ideal in mind – that we call for a church that welcomes, protects, promotes, and integrates all, including immigrants and refugees. These four verbs have been used by Pope Francis to frame our obligations toward migrant populations. As he expressed in his message:
Welcoming means, above all, “offering broader options for migrants and refugees to enter destination countries safely and legally.” We must nurture societies that aim as much as possible to include, rather exclude. A culture of encounter that emphasizes humanity and inherent human dignity best counters anti-immigrant sentiment and welcoming is a vital step in that journey.
Protecting migrants “may be understood as a series of steps intended to defend the rights and dignity of migrants, independent of their legal status.” The Catholic Church has long emphasized the importance of protecting the human dignity of migrants, both through the implementation of humane policies and through their accompaniment.