Migration Not A Threat To Christianity – Pope Francis

File photo: Pope Francis waves to worshipers from the window of the apostolic palace overlooking St. Peter’s Square on September 13, 2020 in The Vatican, during the weekly Angelus prayer within the COVID-19 infection, caused by the novel coronavirus. (Photo by Vincenzo PINTO / AFP)

 

 

Pope Francis, a strong advocate of the rights of refugees, said in a new book published Monday that migration does not pose a threat to Christianity.

“To reject a struggling migrant, whatever his or her religious belief, out of fear of diluting a ‘Christian’ culture is grotesquely to mispresent both Christianity and culture,” he said.

“Migration is not a threat to Christianity except in the minds of those who benefit from claiming it is.

“To promote the Gospel and not welcome the strangers in need, nor affirm their humanity as children of God, is to seek to encourage a culture that is Christian in name only, emptied of all that makes it distinctive.”

The pontiff made the comments in “Let Us Dream”, a new book written in conversation with British biographer Austen Ivereigh.

The pope, the grandson of Italian emigrants who settled in Argentina, regularly expresses solidarity with migrants who cross the Mediterranean, mourning those who lose their lives and denouncing rich countries that fail to welcome them.

“The dignity of our peoples demands safe corridors for migrants and refugees so they can move without fear from deadly areas to safer ones,” he said in the book.

“It is unacceptable to deter immigration by letting hundreds of migrants die in perilous sea crossings or desert treks. The Lord will ask us to account for each one of those deaths.”

This photo taken and handout on August 26, 2020 by the Vatican Media shows Pope Francis speak during a live-streamed weekly private audience from the library of the apostolic palace in the Vatican during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Handout / VATICAN MEDIA / AFP) 

 

He condemned leaders who “channel their resentments and hatreds against imagined enemies to distract from the real problems”, the 83-year-old pontiff wrote.

“A fantasy of national-populism in countries with Christian majorities is its defence of ‘Christian civilisation’ from perceived enemies, whether Islam, Jews, the European Union or the United Nations,” he said.

“The defence appeals to those who are often no longer religious but who regard their nation’s inheritance as a kind of identity.

“Their fears and loss of identity have increased at the same time as attendance at churches has declined,” Francis said.

AFP