Benedict XVI Urges Laws That Favor Integration

Proposes Them as Way to Avoid Xenophobia

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 26, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI called for immigration laws that favor integration and dialogue between cultures, to avoid xenophobic reactions or gaps in the rule of law.



The Pope analyzed the phenomenon of global migration today when addressing Frank De Coninck, the new Belgian ambassador to the Holy See.

"Today the reception of ever more numerous immigrants and the multiplication on the same soil of different communities according to their native culture or religion, make dialogue between cultures and religions absolutely necessary," the Holy Father said at the ceremony where he received the ambassador's letters of credence.

"It is necessary to further mutual knowledge, respecting the religious convictions of each and the legitimate exigencies of social life, according to the laws in force, and to receive immigrants in such a way that their dignity is always respected," Benedict XVI stated in his address delivered in French.

"To achieve this, it is necessary to implement an immigration policy that reconciles the host country's interests and the necessary development of the less-favored countries," the Pope said.

This policy, he added, must be supported "by a will for integration that does not allow the development of situations of rejection or absence of law, as the drama of those 'without documents' reveals."

"Avoided in this way will be self-withdrawal, exacerbated nationalism or even xenophobia," the Holy Father said. "And the hope will exist for the harmonious development of our societies for the good of all the citizens."