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Pope Francis Calls for 'Biblical Welcoming' of Immigrants

25.09.2014, 10:15

In his annual message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, which in 2015 will be observed on January 18, Pope Francis called on all to honor the "biblical commandment of welcoming with respect and solidarity the stranger in need." 

"Jesus Christ is always waiting to be recognized in migrants and refugees, in displaced persons and in exiles, and through them he calls us to share our resources, and occasionally to give up something of our acquired riches," he wrote.

"Large numbers of people are leaving their homelands, with a suitcase full of fears and desires, to undertake a hopeful and dangerous trip in search of more humane living conditions," says Francis. "Such migration gives rise to suspicion and hostility, even in ecclesial communities, prior to any knowledge of the migrants' lives or their stories of persecution and destitution."

Yet individual efforts are not enough, signaled the Pope. The scale of today’s immigration demands international coordination.

Migration movements “are on such a scale that only a systematic and active cooperation between states and international organizations can be capable of regulating and managing such movements effectively," he wrote.

According to the United Nations, there were 232 million international migrants in 2013, representing a rise of 50 percent since 1990.