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Pope arrives in Krakow, challenges Poland on immigration

July 27, 2016

Pope Francis arrived in Krakow on July 27, and in his first public remarks he issued a challenge to Polish leaders on the subject of immigration.

Speaking to national leaders at historic Wawel Castle, the Pontiff called for "a spirit of readiness to welcome those fleeing from wars and hunger." His words highlighted the differences between the policies of the Polish government (and to a lesser extent, the Polish episcopate) and the Holy See on the question of immigration. 

The Pope also alluded to the large number of people who have emigrated from Poland. He said: "there is a need to seek out the reasons for emigration from Poland and to facilitate the return of all thoes wishing to repatriate."

In his discussion of social policies, the Holy Father also encouraged Polish leaders to protect the family, "the primary and fundamental cell of society," and to help families in need. "These two things go together," he said: "welcome and protection, from conception to natural death." 

At the opening of his address at Wawel Castle, Pope Francis spoke of the legacy of St. John Paul II, and mentioned in particular the Polish Pontiff's saying that "Europe breathes with two lungs," referring to the Eastern and Western traditions of Christianity. "The ideal of European humanism is inspired by the creative and coordinated breathing of those two lungs, together with the shared civilization that has its deepest roots in Christianity," Pope Francis said.

 
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  • Posted by: bnewman - Jul. 28, 2016 10:53 PM ET USA

    It is the first responsibility of a government to provide a safe place for its citizens to live and work:and immigration is definitely an issue which may bear on this. But a Catholic may take into consideration an opinion of our Pope. Sometimes Americans refer to “their country” as “this country” when they wish to criticize it and distance themselves from it. But for a Roman Catholic shouldn't it be "my Pope” rather "this Pope" even if we disagree with him on some prudential issue.

  • Posted by: rjbennett1294 - Jul. 28, 2016 1:03 AM ET USA

    Immigration has worked so well in countries like Germany and France, hasn't it? An increased number of horrific terrorist incidents, an accelerated process of Islamization - what the Poles will no doubt now eagerly embrace after listening to this pope.

  • Posted by: feedback - Jul. 27, 2016 7:23 PM ET USA

    Actually Poland has already accommodated 1 million of war refugees from Ukraine. They work and live there in peace. Poland also accepted one thousand of Christian refugees from Syria but they all packed on their own and moved to Germany where social benefits are better.

  • Posted by: Travelling - Jul. 27, 2016 6:13 PM ET USA

    Why is " European Humanism" the ideal? Surely Christianity is our ideal?