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All Christians form one family, Pope tells Sunday audience

Catholic World News - January 17, 2011

Migrants and refugees should be recognized as members of the “one human family,” Pope Benedict XVI said on January 16. Indeed, the Pope reminded Christians, the child Jesus Himself was a refugee.

The Holy Father called attention to two observances—the World Day for Migrants and Refugees and the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity—during his regular Sunday audience on January 16.

The Day for Migrants and Refugees, he said, “invites us to reflect on the experience of many men, women, and families who leave their own country in search of better living conditions.” While many migrants leave home voluntarily, he added, for others the move “is, unfortunately, imposed by war or persecution and, as we know, it often comes about in tragic circumstances.”

Christians who leave their native lands freely should contribute to the spreading of the Gospel, the Pope said, while those who are forced to leave should find welcome among Christians elsewhere. In any case, he said, the worldwide body of Christ’s followers “should form a single entity.”

“This,” the Pontiff went on, “is the aim of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.” The annual observance, which runs from January 18 to 25, is an opportunity for all Christ’s faithful to unite in prayer, looking forward to, and asking God for, the full restoration of unity among the faithful.

As he closed his Angelus audience, Pope Benedict remarked that he was looking forward to the beatification of his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, on May 1. “Those knew him, those who respected and loved him cannot but share in the Church's joy at this event,” he said.

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  • Posted by: paul20105493 - Jan. 18, 2011 3:16 PM ET USA

    I agree with ColmCille. I've heard bishops & Vatican officials, one on Vatican Radio, say the US has to find a way to legalize illegal immigrants. Do they ever give that same advice to other countries with more restrictive (and actually enforced) immigration laws than ours, like Mexico? And if I were to slip into Vatican City (a sovereign country) without going through the proper channels, even if my intentions were peaceful, do you think they would find a way to legalize me, or boot me out?

  • Posted by: ColmCille - Jan. 17, 2011 9:43 PM ET USA

    As long as they have migrated here legally, they will be welcomed. The Church has always taught that nations have the right to control immigration. We should treat illegal immigrants with charity, especially those who left in desperate circumstances, but we cannot simply look the other way. Some of the most outspoken voices against illegal immigration are often legal immigrants. They did things the right way, often with great difficulty and sacrifice, and they expect others to do the same.

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