See migration as a sign of hope, Pope Francis suggests
Migration should be recognized as a sign of hope, even when it takes place in circumstances that are “at times painful and even tragic,” Pope Francis said on November 21 in an address to the Pontifical Council on Migrants.
The Pontiff said that at a 3-day conference in Rome this week, the members of the Pontifical Council had studied the root causes of migration, which he listed in part: “inequality, poverty, overpopulation, the growing need for employment in some sectors of the global job market, disasters caused by climate change, wars and persecution, and the desire of younger people to relocate as they seek new opportunities.”
Both the nations that receive immigrants and those that they are leaving should enjoy some benefits, the Pope said. The receiving nations find new sources of inexpensive labor, with the new arrivals “not infrequently filling gaps created by the demographic crisis.” The nations that they leave, conversely, may see a reduction in unemployment and their families will benefit when emigrants who find work abroad send their wages home.
However the Pope also acknowledged the costs of migration. The receiving nations often have difficulty absorbing and integrating the new residents; the countries of origin lose some of their brightest and most ambitious people, and the long absences of migrant workers strain family life.
“Sadly migrants often experience disappointment, distress, loneliness and marginalization,” the Pope said. He stressed the role of the Church in providing for their pastoral needs, especially when they face special difficulties. The Church, he reminded his audience, “is the mother of all, and so she strives to foster the culture of welcome and solidarity, where no one is considered useless, out of place or disposable.”