VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Francis on Tuesday (July 15) waded into the controversy of the wave of unaccompanied minors arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border, calling for an end to racism against migrants and pushing the U.S. to offer greater protection for young children entering the country illegally.

Pope Francis on July 14, 2014, encouraged people to welcome children immigrants crossing the U.S. border from Central America, saying in a letter, "Many people forced to emigrate suffer, and often, die tragically. Many of their rights are violated. They are obliged to separate from their families and, unfortunately, continue to be the subject of racist and xenophobic attitudes."

Pope Francis on July 14, 2014, encouraged people to welcome child immigrants crossing the U.S. border from Central America, saying in a letter, “Many people forced to emigrate suffer, and often, die tragically. Many of their rights are violated. They are obliged to separate from their families and, unfortunately, continue to be the subject of racist and xenophobic attitudes.” Creative Commons image by Catholic Church England and Wales

“Many people forced to emigrate suffer, and often, die tragically,” the pope said in a message sent to a global conference in Mexico.

“Many of their rights are violated, they are obliged to separate from their families and, unfortunately, continue to be the subject of racist and xenophobic attitudes.”

The Argentine pontiff said a different approach is needed to tackling what he called a “humanitarian emergency” as growing numbers of unaccompanied children are migrating to the U.S. from Central America and Mexico.

“I would also like to draw attention to the tens of thousands of children who migrate alone, unaccompanied, to escape poverty and violence,” the pope said.

“They are increasing day by day. This humanitarian emergency requires, as a first urgent measure, these children be welcomed and protected.”

Cardinal Seán O'Malley of Boston and 7 other bishops celebrate Mass on the US-Mexico border in Arizona to commemorate the deaths of migrants in the desert and to pray for immigration reform on April 1, 2014.

Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston and seven other bishops celebrate Mass on the U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona to commemorate the deaths of migrants in the desert and to pray for immigration reform on April 1, 2014. Creative Commons image by Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston

In April, a delegation of U.S. bishops staged a dramatic Mass along the U.S.-Mexico border and distributed Communion through the border fence. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has called on the Obama administration to let the children stay in the U.S. “The prospect of the United States sending vulnerable children back into the hands of violent criminals in their countries raises troubling questions about our moral character,” said Auxiliary Bishop Eusebio Elizondo of Seattle, chairman of the bishops’ migration committee.

The pope has often spoken out in his support for refugees and called for a dramatic change of consciousness.

Cardinal Seán O'Malley of Boston and 7 other bishops celebrate Mass on the US-Mexico border in Arizona to commemorate the deaths of migrants in the desert and to pray for immigration reform on April 1, 2014.

Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston and seven other bishops celebrate Mass on the U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona to commemorate the deaths of migrants in the desert and to pray for immigration reform on April 1, 2014. Creative Commons image by Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston

When he visited the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa on his first official visit outside Rome last year, the 77-year-old pontiff greeted migrants from North Africa and the Middle East and criticized what he termed the “global indifference” to their plight.

In his latest message, Francis said the fear and indifference of what he termed the “throwaway culture” should be replaced with a commitment to building a more just and fraternal world.

“These measures, however, will not be sufficient, unless they are accompanied by policies that inform people about the dangers of such a journey and, above all, that promote development in their countries of origin,” the pope said.

“This challenge demands the attention of the entire international community so that new forms of legal and secure migration may be adopted.”

The pope’s letter was sent to the Mexico-Holy See Colloquium on Migration and Development and presented by the papal nuncio to Mexico, Archbishop Christophe Pierre. The Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, also attended the conference.

KRE/MG END MCKENNA

 

52 Comments

  1. I still like him, but am disappointed he can only use name calling in reference to the destination country of these people, and avoids using labels and negative generalizations to refer to thr origin countries….the real problem.

    • What name-calling? “Throwaway culture?”

      Though the Pope doesn’t have any answers to this crisis, it isn’t his job to come up with them. It’s his job to be salt and light by reminding us to remember the soul – not just that of these poor children, but our own, as well, as we try to manage this crisis at our doorstep.

      • The name calling was xenophobic and racist…apparently.

        Buzzwords used frequently to elicit a emotional reaction without much actual thinking involved. Others are bigot, homophobic, hater, etc.

        Works for you, I guess. I cannot understand why we think we can fix the world as we fall apart. Francis believes this fallacy too it seems.

        • A pastor does have some responsibility to name sin, and to call it by its name. Those of us on the receiving end of the naming never like it, and find all sorts of defensive maneuvers to avoid serious reflection on the possibility of need for repentance. But, like it or not, the pastoral naming of sin – if done with charity and without rancor – is essential to the pastoral care of souls.

          • I agree with Jackie. Everyone has answers for America to open their doors, again and again, but look at our nation today. It’s already over populated, aren’t we? We certainly can’t afford to pay higher and higher taxes to accommodate more outsiders.

  2. samuel Johnston

    Pope says:
    “The Argentine pontiff said a different approach is needed to tackling what he called a ‘humanitarian emergency’ as growing numbers of unaccompanied children are migrating to the U.S. from Central America and Mexico.”
    And only America is to blame?
    “the ‘throwaway culture’ (Western) should be replaced with a commitment to building a more just and fraternal world.”
    How about replacing it with the Roman Church Ruled world of the Children’s Crusades, and the plagues resulting from the anti scientific/magical world view enforced by the Church?
    (Oh God- I am beginning to sound like Max!)

    • Chaplain Martin

      Where is my brother Max? I agree with some things he writes. Just wish he would find the loving God I believe in. I offered to share my God with him the one he writes about is most vile.

  3. Chaplain Martin

    A quote from the Pope’s remarks: “Many of their rights are violated, they are obliged to separate from their families and, unfortunately, continue to be the subject of racist and xenophobic attitudes.” Taken in context with the article as a whole, I don’t find these words to rise to the level of “name calling”. The attitudes are there for all to see in the angry mobs turning back the buses.
    Churches have sent funds and missionaries to establish care centers for oppressed peoples throughout the world. Their efforts have not turned the tide as yet but for those who received the help have gone on to improve their lives and the lives of others. It is not time to bring missionaries home, but be missionaries here in the US to the oppressed children at our gates.
    The problem is Government has become our god we look to it to cure all ills, take care of the poor the disenfranchised, the child that needs our tender loving care. Institutions stared by Christians (look up the history) were places for the mentally ill, the first hospitals and in the Bible we even find them bringing food to prisoners who would not have been fed otherwise. Now many tend to bow to the mighty state, politicians tickle our ears with claiming to be for God. We Christians have become so needy for good words form the secular that we no longer take the power available to us as Christians.
    While all the crap is going on there are still Christians going forth to the homeless by the river in Columbus, Ga. bringing help including food to the homeless living in tents, living under bridges and doorways. Sure these could probably get in a shelter but the multitude of issues than you cannot understand unless you venture out of your safety zone are why this is so. Women are especially being trained for jobs in the women’s Christian Job corp. Community Markets for the poor are in all most every county of the nation.

    Yet far too many who claim the name Christian are saying either “government step in and save the children” or “Send them back, send them back”

    Maybe we can’t save all the oppressed children who come to our borders, but certainly we can help many.

  4. samuel Johnston

    Hello Chaplin Martin,
    ” Just wish he would find the loving God I believe in.”
    Heck, we all would like to find the God to blame/credit for all the problems of this life.
    You might make a start by answering the questions raised by Dostoyevsky
    in “The Brothers Karamazov”. Just start with the chapter “The Brothers Get Acquainted” and proceed through the next chapter, “The Grand Inquisitor”.
    We await your instruction. Me, I am with Ivan.

    • Chaplain Martin

      We all worship the God of our understanding whether it be a with a capital “G” or a lower case “g”.
      Some worship themselves, some their anger, some either secular humanism and so on.

      • samuel Johnston

        What nonsense. I do not worship. This is the sort of rhetorical insult that commonly passes for insight and wisdom in the church, but it cannot withstand examination.
        I once had a T-shirt once that read:
        A MAN”S GOT TO BELIEVE IN SOMETHING (printed on the front)
        I BELIEVE I”LL HAVE ANOTHR DRINK (printed on the back)

  5. We have a right to defend our borders against invaders no matter what the Papacy says.

    As a Christian, I am happy stand with Catholics against common foes like abortionists and homosexuals. We can set aside our differences and squash those enemies like insects.

    But there are times when the False Prophet of Rome should be recognized for the threat he is, and this is one of them. Say NO to the borderless, one-world government!

  6. Given his commitment to a more just and fraternal world perhaps the Bishop of Rome will enlighten us as to the total number of those African migrants entering Europe through Italy who have been granted refugee status by the Vatican state & are now able to enjoy its opulent riches.

    A round figure will do.

    • samuel Johnston

      Zero is round.
      “Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.”
      But when the Church heard this statement, they went away grieving; for they owned much property.…

      • Chaplain Martin

        21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. NIV

        • samuel Johnston

          The use of quote marks (“”) indicate a direct quote. In this case, from the King James version of the Bible. Remarks appended, located outside the quotes, are my own editorial comment. Just clarifying to make certain no one is mislead. Silly of me to expect others to have a copy of the Holy Bible.

          • Chaplain Martin

            God bless you. Evidently your editorial comment is supposed to cover every Christian congregation of believers world wide.

          • samuel Johnston

            Chaplain Martin,
            In this context, I meant most churches throughout history. The Salvation Army being the most outstanding, but not the only, exception.
            I am also happy to admit that many, many, individual Christians, have and do lead exemplary lives, as do many, communists, pagans, and atheists (hi Max). Nonetheless, organized religion has been the source of great harm and in my judgment, society would be better off if rational thought, good will (empathy), and moral behavior were encouraged, rather than belief and theology. Now you can say I “believe” in rational thought, but that game is tiresome and non productive.

    • Good point! The Cathollc Church, the supposedly richest organization in the world, should be able to take care of them. Let’s pack them up and send them to Rome. We have enough problems of our own without trying to take on those from everybody else.

  7. Those adolescents from Central and South America are just coming to the US to take jobs away.

    Especially those Americans with only a grade school education! :)

  8. I think Pope Francis thinks right about many things, but if the Catholics really wanted to help alleviate some of the poverty in Central America, they would get over the ridiculous bar on birth control. Contraception is an important aid to reducing families size, which in turn helps reduce poverty.

  9. Easy for the Pope to say. It isn’t his taxes paying for it. We can’t gerd our own poor or help our Veterans who are suffering but we have 300-400 billion for illegals. Seems pretty backward thinking if you ask me.

  10. The United States (est. pop. 350 million) comprises about 5% of the world population (est. world pop. 7 billion). Yet the US uses about 25% of world natural resources to support its lifestyle. Many of these natural resources are acquired from countries in the Middle East and the southern hemisphere.

    For well over half a century and continuing into the current day, the US gov’t has actively supported corrupt governments in these regions. It does so essentially because these governments help the US “further its national interest” which essentially amounts to acquiring natural resources “on the cheap”- exploiting laborers who extract these natural resources and the natural environment from which they are extracted in these countries through a system of world trade that yields high profits to the large corporations that conduct these extractions. In short, this is how the structure of colonialism has shifted in the 20th and 21st centuries. Some observers (typically professional macroeconomists) have coined the term, “neocolonialism” to name how the economic dynamic of colonialism has evolved to the structure evident in the world today.

    The US (CIA) has actively worked to overthrow democratically elected regimes In many of these countries (Iran 1953, Guatemala 1954, and in more recent years, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Panama, Colombia, Argentina, Chile and a number of African countries as well. The Rockefeller (Standard Oil) and Bush families have long support the oppressive and corrupt regime in Saudi Arabia because they have been successful in entering into attractive deals with them to acquire crude oil on the cheap.

    From this perspective on the US accomplishing it’s “national (economic) interests” that involves the collateral damage of exploiting millions and millions of people who happen to live in the countries with corrupt regimes (that the US supports), it is not a stretch to say that the US effectively enriches itself at the expense of millions of people throughout the world.

    Indeed, the US actively supported the Taliban in Afghanistan during the 1980’s and 1990’s ‘to further its national interest to thwart the USSR’s interest in acquiring control over that country.

    The US has learned that by enriching just a few corrupt government officials in these countries (a highly cost-effective practice) it can make deals to acquire resources very inexpensively. Some of these countries are failed states where political control is essentially in the hands of gangs and warlords.

    The US-supported (mostly through the covert activity of the CIA and covert arms of the US military) disruption in these countries that furthers US economic interests also happens to create life-threatening conditions for many of their inhabitants- some of whom must flee their countries of origin. Often the choices such people face is 1) to align themselves with one or another gang controlled by corrupt war lords and be forced into working as military combatants 2) be killed by these groups if they opt against aligning themselves in this way, or to leave these countries altogether- essentially as refugees- in order to make a livelihood elsewhere.

    Because of its great wealth (even if in many ways ill-gotten) the US has more economic opportunity than many other alternative countries. It is natural for people in such dire straights to attempt the very dangerous journey to make a better life in the US.

    If the US adopted greater concern for the social impact of it’s economic policies oriented towards furthering its “national (economic) interests” in a number of southern hemisphere countries particularly Latin America, Africa and the Middle East), the drive for immigration from those countries (rich in natural resources) would be radically reduced.

    The US will not shift this policy, however, until the people rise up and take back the political influence it has ceded to the big corporations. I am not saying, “Corporations are bad.” I am saying three things, however. 1) Corporations are not democratic institutions, 2) corporations have successfully achieved a disproportionate level of political influence in the US, and 3) corporations actively pursue their self-interest.

    Until this condition changes, economically disadvantaged physically endangered refugees, from all over the world- exploited for their labor- will be attempting to immigrate to the United States.

    In my view, it is the responsibility for US citizens to become better educated about the socio-economic dynamics adumbrated above and take a stand to change US public policy in order to create conditions for justice and equability to all persons everywhere instead of pursuing the narrow focus of achieving American wealth at the expense of others.

    When Jesus admonished people to love their enemies, I think he meant not to “squash them like insects” but to hold them with love, profound respect and authentic inclusivity.

    • samuel Johnston

      A Mexican and a American (pair of cowboys) stood drinking at a Texas bar, having a heated argument about who was really entitled to own the land. They had been going at it loudly for a while and were getting pretty drunk. Finally, before he passed out, the Mexican slurred out- yoush not ogly shrole our country, but yoush shrole the paved half! – (apologies to Pat.O.)

      Your point of view is extremely familiar. Share and share alike, and immoral dead white men have screwed up the world. Well, perhaps they did not act more kindly that the Romans, or any other previous imperialistic power, (like say the Aztecs or the Incas) but please enlighten me as to who has. Now, what they did do was create great wealth and technology, and great advances in medicine, and even in government. Cuba may be more socialistic, but people want to come here from all over the world, because in Cuba all they have to share is dictatorship and poverty. We have wealth to share, not just because we stole it (like everybody else) but because we created more wealth with what we stole. Over time this additional wealth and the trade it established has brought an unprecedented number of people out of poverty – many more than all the “sharing” programs combined.

      • samuel Johnston

        We do not, and should not, have a direct democracy. We have elected representatives, (537-540 in the House, depending on who is counting, plus a hundred Senators, plus the President, his vast administration, agencies, think tanks, party officials, plus duplicates of all these in the individual states.
        We can and should inform ourselves and think and discuss, write our representatives if we must- but direct action is not our proper role.
        Aside from that, we have thousands of private groups and institutions, the press, the internet……… It is an embarrassment of freedom’s riches. You may even fly down to the countries in question and investigate the matter yourself. Good luck- but be careful, they may not be so pleased.

  11. Illegal immigrants are illegal, and it is unfair to others who take the legal route. The pope should really stay out of so many matters. Maybe Argentina could take them since they already speak Spanish.

  12. Diana Cretella

    And furthermore, these are not just children coming across the boarder. Many of these people are MS 13 members and other undesirables. Please explain what these individuals are fleeing from.

    • Ann every time a read a negative disgusting comment from a woman, my heart aches. You probably don’t have children or you think only white children are special

  13. Diana Cretella

    My first comment was not posted. I do not agree with the Pope and I am a practicing catholic. Let the Vatican house, cloth, feed, educate and administer to these people. We in the USA need to take care of our own poor. Eric your diatribe is typical liberal mantra. We have enough resources in this country to completely support our lifestyle. It’s the environmental lobby and the rouge agencies like the DEP and EPA that have created our need to use the resources of other nations.

  14. Children and mothers. okay. unaccompanied small children. okay. teenagers? Al-Quada? MS=13 gangs? Deportation. You people have no idea what is getting through the Southern Border between Mexico and USA. You have blinders on for some reason. And what of the people waiting in line who have paid fees and taken out papers to immigrate to USA. There is no crisis in Honduras and Guatemala. It is Obama manufactured to keep the Democrats in power forever creating a dictatorship. Obama is a communist.

  15. Veronica Theresa

    If the Church, or any other country, has an opinion on humanitarian aid to be given to the immigrants, let them give funding, services, and troops to assist in the care and welfare. I have seen no help from the Church or others that the United States has helped in past humanitarian efforts. Where is their support? Words do not buy blankets, words do not supply food… The United States has contributed trillions over the years–who has stepped forward and said “we will assist”?

  16. Pope Francis is right, we have an obligation as Christians to reach out and help these children coming over the border any way we can. Some of us will help by donating time, talent or treasure (money). Others, like the good citizens of Iowa are offering to adopt or take them into their homes. Maybe what we should be asking as good Christians is “WWJD” (What would Jesus do?). I truly believe he would want us to reach out to these poor and helpless children. After all, didn’t he say to his Disciples, “Let the children come onto me”. He also said to his Disciples and followers, “Did you cloth me when I was naked? Did you feed me when I was hungry? Did you visit me when was in prison?…”. Well, some of these children are hungry and only have the clothes on their Backs, so as good Christians I don’t believe we have any other choice but to help them, and if the help means helping them assimulate into our Society, so be it. And let’s not forget what Jesus said about our neighbors, “Love your neighbor as yourself!”. Which I feel means we need to feed, shelter, educate and protect all these children coming over the Mexican border. It would also not be a bad idea if we could get Mexico to try and help out as well, after all, they to are a Christian nation. But I feel that most of the responsibility for taking care of these children will end up in our hands. However, as a Christian nation I don’t feel we really have a choice, but to help them, and with God’s help we will succeed. Amen!

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