Reflecting on Pope Francis’ World Day of Peace message

by Tony Magliano

On behalf of the world’s often unwanted refugees and migrants, Pope Francis in his Jan. 1 World Day of Peace message titled “Migrants and Refugees: Men and Women in Search of Peace” pleads: “In a spirit of compassion, let us embrace all those fleeing from war and hunger, or forced by discrimination, persecution, poverty and environmental degradation to leave their homelands.”

But instead of experiencing an embrace of warm welcome, millions of migrants and refugees are confronted with “fences and walls built to keep them far from their goal,” of finally finding a safe and secure place to call home, says Francis.

Several European nations continue to build fences and walls to keep out refugees fleeing armed conflicts and dire poverty in places like Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Nigeria.

And along the U.S.-Mexico border, a nearly 700-mile barrier exists to keep out thousands of scared, poor Central Americans and Mexicans from entering the U.S. And if the Trump administration gets it way, the existing barrier will be extended even further.

For the vast majority of these migrants and refugees, the only “crime” they have committed is seeking a working way out of poverty and a safe haven from drug-induced gang violence — fed largely by America’s drug addiction epidemic and U.S. gun exports — in their home countries.

In his 2018 World Day of Peace message, the Holy Father is critical of the stance taken by many wealthier countries that spread harmful rhetoric claiming refugees and migrants pose risks to national security or are too costly to welcome. He challenges this thinking as demeaning to “the human dignity due to all as sons and daughters of God.” Furthermore, it’s overwhelmingly not true…

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