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Society’s duty not only to accept immigrants: Pope Francis

Message of Pope Francis at the conference “Immigrants and Education” organized by the Pontifical Gregorian University.

Monsignor Joji Vadakara, Vatican City

Pope Francis exhorted that society’s duty does not stop at welcoming immigrants, but to accompany them to integrate with society, to promote their talents and to strive to make their peaceful integration into society possible. The Pope was speaking on the morning of Thursday, September 29, while addressing the people at the closing session of the convention organized by the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome on “Immigrants and Education”.

Speaking about the desire of migrant children and young people to continue their education in the country of their arrival, the Pope highlighted the importance of three things related to this topic: research, teaching and promoting social development.

Research

Speaking on the topic of research, Pope said it is necessary to learn about the right of migrant people not to leave their own country. The reasons that drive people to migrate, especially violence and conflict, the misuse of our common home, and the often neglected issues of proper conservation of land, must be explored. The Pope reminded us that based on such studies, we can help various governments to better manage the Earth.

teaching

In relation to education, the Pope praised the plans that have been put in place to provide educational facilities for migrant people. Pope Francis said that Catholic universities and other educational institutions can do more at this level, and talked about various things such as distance education, the need for scholarships, the recognition of academic qualifications of other universities, in a way that helps the growth of immigrants and those who receive them.

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Social development

Speaking in relation to social progress, the Pope recalled that universities have a great role to play in building a society that can appreciate ethnic, linguistic and religious diversity and embrace different cultures, without hindering the common future. The Pope also highlighted that universities can also encourage young people to take up volunteering activities in a way that favors immigrants and refugees, especially the more vulnerable groups.

Day of Migrants and Refugees

Referring to the Day of Migrants and Refugees observed on Sunday, September 25, the Pope recalled that he had spoken about the importance of building the future with migrants. The Pope emphasized that history teaches us about the role immigrants and refugees have played in the social and economic development of our societies. The same continues in today’s society, the Pope added.

The Pope concluded his homily by reiterating the importance of welcoming refugees, helping them to become part of society, encouraging their talents and supporting them to integrate in a way that is beneficial to society and to themselves.

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