Migration Is Boon for Society, Says Pope

On World Day of Migrants and Refugees

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 14, 2007 (Zenit.org).- The migrant family should not be seen as a problem, but rather as a resource for humanity, Benedict XVI said on World Day of Migrants and Refugees.



The Holy Father made these comments today before reciting the Angelus with the crowds gathered in St. Peter's Square. He dedicated his address to the migrant family, the topic of the message he wrote for the world day.

In his address, the Pope recalled that the Holy Family of Nazareth was also a migrant family. They emigrated from their home country to Egypt to flee Herod's persecution.

The Pontiff said: "In the drama of the family of Nazareth we can perceive the painful condition of so many migrants, especially refugees, the exiled, the displaced and the persecuted.

"We recognize, in particular, the difficulties of the migrant family as such: the difficult conditions of life, the humiliations, inconveniences and fragility."

Benedict XVI said that today "the phenomenon of human mobility is very widespread and diversified."

The Holy Father explained: "According to recent United Nations estimates, migrants impelled by financial reasons number almost 200 million; refugees number 9 million and international students some 2 million.

"To this great number of brothers and sisters must be added the internally displaced and irregular migrants, keeping in mind that each one of them has, in one way or another, a family."

Legal ease

The Pope appealed for the care of "migrants and their families through the help of specific legislative, juridical and administrative protections, as well as through a network of services, listening centers and structures of social and pastoral assistance."

"I hope that soon a balanced management will be established of the migratory flows and of human mobility in general, so that it will bring benefits to the whole human family, beginning with concrete measures that favor regular migration and family regrouping, paying special attention to women and minors," the Pontiff said.

Benedict XVI emphasized that "the human person must always be placed at the center," and illustrated the key to the integration of immigrants in a society.

"The just integration of families in social, economic and political systems is only achieved on one hand, by respecting the dignity of all immigrants and, on the other hand, by immigrants recognizing the values of the host society," the Pope said.

"Dear friends," the Holy Father continued, "the reality of migrations must never be seen just as a problem, but also and above all as a great resource for humanity's progress."

"And the migrant family is especially a resource, if it is respected as such, and does not suffer irreparable lacerations, but is able to remain united or to regroup, and to fulfill its mission of cradle of life and first ambit of a person's education," added the Pontiff.

In his address, Benedict XVI asked for the intercessory help of St. Francesca Xavier Cabrini (1850-1917), patroness of migrants and founder of the missionaries of the Sacred Heart. A native of Italy, she assisted immigrants who arrived to the United States and Latin America.