Pope Notes Plight of North African Emigrants

Calls on Countries to Protect Human Dignity

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 12, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is calling the Church in Africa and Europe to help the thousands of North African emigrants who look for a better life on European soil.



The plight of emigrants who try to cross the Mediterranean should call out to consciences, the Pope said on Saturday when he received in audience the bishops from the regional conference of northern Africa, which comprises Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya.

The Holy Father said: "Among the important issues that your region has to face, the emigration of people from the sub-Saharan region who attempt to cross the Mediterranean to come to Europe in search of a better life should create a joint effort in the service of justice and peace.

"The situation of these people which is worrisome, and at times even dramatic, should bother our consciences.

"The generous help offered by your diocesan Churches contributes to the recognition of their dignity and it is a witness offered to the Lord."

New future

Benedict XVI expressed his wish that "the countries involved in these migrations may find efficient ways to allow everyone the hope of building a new future for themselves and their families while always respecting the dignity of the person."

He also mentioned the key role that North African bishops have in the interplay of civilizations.

The Pope said: "The increased collaboration of your dioceses with the Churches of the Middle East and Africa are a testimony of the supreme value of your region as a meeting point between Africa, Europe and the Arab world.

"The development of these relationships are also a practical application of the solidarity between the Church in Africa and in the Middle East in their apostolic concern for your region."