Migration Seen as an Opportunity for Evangelization and Ecumenism

Assembly of Pontifical Council Spells Out Its Conclusions

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 31, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Migration at the global level is an opportunity for evangelization, ecumenism and interreligious dialogue, said experts meeting in the Vatican.



The key to achieve this objective is to learn the real meaning of dialogue, stated the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers, held from May 17-19. The assembly's conclusions were gathered in a final document published Saturday by the Vatican press office.

The final statement urges the faithful "to go out to meet others, foreigners, with charity and respect, accepting them without distinctions of creed or nationality," with the conviction that "although we are different from those who profess other religions, God is greater than our differences."

The plenary assembly exhorted the whole Church to have "more profound knowledge of the concepts of truth and dialogue, of identity and of relations with others, in the light of the novelty of Christian revelation and the teaching of the Church."

"The respect of culture and of the personal situation of peoples and individuals that you meet" should lead one to avoid "proselytism," the document said. Yet, at the same time it emphasized the "duty of evangelization, explicit or implicit, which can never be given up."

The assembly emphasized "the importance of education in dialogue in educational programs for seminarians, men and women religious, and pastoral agents."

It also called for "a catechesis not only for the children of migrants but also for their families and the communities in which they live, paying particular attention to women, who are often the object of abuse."

With reference to refugees, which as the text points out are primarily Muslims, there is a need "for a method of dialogue to help the refugees to understand Christian values and the notion of integral development of the person and of the equality of men and women."

The document ends with the commitment of the pontifical council to make dialogue "the indispensable way so that every person will be truly alive in the search for the truth about God, about himself, and about the world."