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Papal message draws attention to plight of child migrants

October 13, 2016

The Holy See Press Office has released the text of Pope Francis’s message for the 2017 World Day of Migrants and Refugees, which will take place on January 15.

“In Jesus, God became a child, and the openness of faith to God, which nourishes hope, is expressed in loving proximity to the smallest and the weakest,” Pope Francis wrote. “But the Evangelists reflect also on the responsibility of the one who works against mercy: ‘Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin: it is better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and be drowned in the depth of the sea.’”

The Pope continued:

How can we ignore this severe warning when we see the exploitation carried out by unscrupulous people? Such exploitation harms young girls and boys who are led into prostitution or into the mire of pornography; who are enslaved as child laborers or soldiers; who are caught up in drug trafficking and other forms of criminality; who are forced to flee from conflict and persecution, risking isolation and abandonment.

“We need to become aware that the phenomenon of migration is not unrelated to salvation history, but rather a part of that history,” the Pope added, as he reflected on the need for protection, integration and long-term solutions in the face of the situation of child migrants.

“Lastly, I wish to address a word to you, who walk alongside migrant children and young people: they need your precious help,” he concluded. “The Church too needs you and supports you in the generous service you offer. Do not tire of courageously living the Gospel, which calls you to recognize and welcome the Lord Jesus among the smallest and most vulnerable.”


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