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MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS FOR THE 108th WORLD DAY OF MIGRANTS AND REFUGEES 2022

“Here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.” (Heb 13:14)
Dear brothers and sisters!
The ultimate meaning of our “journey” in this world is the search for our true
homeland, the Kingdom of God inaugurated by Jesus Christ, which will find its full
realization when he comes in glory. His Kingdom has not yet been brought to
fulfilment, though it is already present in those who have accepted the salvation he
offers us. “God’s Kingdom is in us. Even though it is still eschatological, in the
future of the world and of humanity, at the same time it is found in us.” (Saint John
Paul II, Address during the Visit to the Roman Parish of Saints Francis of Assisi and
Catherine of Siena, Patrons of Italy, 26 November 1989).
The city yet to come is a “city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is
God” (Heb 11:10). His plan calls for an intense work of construction, in which all of
us must be personally involved. It involves a meticulous effort aimed at personal
conversion and the transformation of reality, so that it can correspond ever more
fully to the divine plan. The tragedies of history remind us how far we are from
arriving at our goal, the new Jerusalem, “the dwelling place of God with men” (Rev
21:3). Yet this does not mean that we should lose heart. In the light of what we
have learned in the tribulations of recent times, we are called to renew our
commitment to building a future that conforms ever more fully to God’s plan of a
world in which everyone can live in peace and dignity.
“We wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home” (2 Pet
3:13). Righteousness is one of the building blocks of God’s Kingdom. In our daily
efforts to do the Lord’s will, justice needs to be built up with patience, sacrifice, and
determination, so that all those who hunger and thirst for it may be satisfied (cf. Mt
5:6). The righteousness of the Kingdom must be understood as the fulfilment of
God’s harmonious plan, whereby in Christ, who died and rose from the dead, all
creation returns to its original goodness, and humanity becomes once more “very
good” (cf. Gen 1:1-31). But for this wondrous harmony to reign, we must accept
Christ’s salvation, his Gospel of love, so that the many forms of inequality and
discrimination in the present world may be eliminated.
No one must be excluded. God’s plan is essentially inclusive and gives priority to
those living on the existential peripheries. Among them are many migrants and
refugees, displaced persons, and victims of trafficking. The Kingdom of God is to be
built with them, for without them it would not be the Kingdom that God wants. The
inclusion of those most vulnerable is the necessary condition for full citizenship in
God’s Kingdom. Indeed, the Lord says, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father.
Inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was
hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me a drink, a stranger
and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, sick and you took care of me, in
prison and you visited me” (Mt 25:34-36).
Building the future with migrants and refugees also means recognizing and valuing
how much each of them can contribute to the process of construction. I like to see
this approach to migration reflected in a prophetic vision of Isaiah, which considers
foreigners not invaders or destroyers, but willing labourers who rebuild the walls of
the new Jerusalem, that Jerusalem whose gates are open to all peoples (cf. Is
60:10-11).
In Isaiah’s prophecy, the arrival of foreigners is presented as a source of
enrichment: “The abundance of the sea shall be brought to you, and the wealth of
the nations shall come to you” (Is 60:5). Indeed, history teaches us that the
contribution of migrants and refugees has been fundamental to the social and
economic growth of our societies. This continues to be true in our own day. Their
work, their youth, their enthusiasm and their willingness to sacrifice enrich the
communities that receive them. Yet this contribution could be all the greater were it
optimized and supported by carefully developed programs and initiatives. Enormous
potential exists, ready to be harnessed, if only it is given a chance.
In Isaiah’s prophecy, the inhabitants of the new Jerusalem always keep the gates of
the city wide open, so that foreigners may come in, bringing their gifts: “Your gates
shall always be open; day and night they shall not be shut, so that nations shall
bring you their wealth” (Is 60:11). The presence of migrants and refugees
represents a great challenge, but at the same time an immense opportunity for the
cultural and spiritual growth of everyone. Thanks to them, we have the chance to
know better our world and its beautiful diversity. We can grow in our common
humanity and build together an ever greater sense of togetherness. Openness to
one another creates spaces of fruitful exchange between different visions and
traditions, and opens minds to new horizons. It also leads to a discovery of the
richness present in other religions and forms of spirituality unfamiliar to us, and this
helps us to deepen our own convictions.
In the new Jerusalem of all peoples, the temple of the Lord is made more beautiful
by the offerings that come from foreign lands: “All the flocks of Kedar shall be
gathered to you, the rams of Nebaioth shall minister to you, they shall be
acceptable on my altar, and I will glorify my glorious house” (Is 60:7). As we have
seen, the arrival of Catholic migrants and refugees can energize the ecclesial life of
the communities that welcome them. Often they bring an enthusiasm that can
revitalize our communities and enliven our celebrations. Sharing different
expressions of faith and devotions offers us a privileged opportunity for
experiencing more fully the catholicity of the People of God.
Dear brothers and sisters, and, in a special way, young people! If we want to
cooperate with our heavenly Father in building the future, let us do so together with
our brothers and sisters who are migrants and refugees. Let us build the future
today! For the future begins today and it begins with each of us. We cannot leave to
future generations the burden of responsibility for decisions that need to be made
now, so that God’s plan for the world may be realized and his Kingdom of justice,
fraternity, and peace may come.
Prayer
Lord, make us bearers of hope,
so that where there is darkness,
your light may shine,
and where there is discouragement,
confidence in the future may be reborn.
Lord, make us instruments of your justice,
so that where there is exclusion, fraternity may flourish,
and where there is greed, a spirit of sharing may grow.
Lord, make us builders of your Kingdom,
together with migrants and refugees
and with all who dwell on the peripheries.
Lord, let us learn how beautiful it is
to live together as brothers and sisters. Amen.
Rome, Saint John Lateran, 9 May 2022

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APOSTOLIC JOURNEY OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS TO CANADA (24 – 30 JULY 2022) MEETING WITH CIVIL AUTHORITIES, REPRESENTATIVES OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLE AND MEMBERS OF THE DIPLOMATIC CORPS ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS

The Holy See and the local Catholic communities are concretely committed to
promoting the indigenous cultures through specific and appropriate forms of
spiritual accompaniment that include attention to their cultural traditions, customs,
languages and educational processes, in the spirit of the United Nations Declaration
on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It is our desire to renew the relationship
between the Church and the indigenous peoples of Canada, a relationship marked
both by a love that has borne outstanding fruit and, tragically, deep wounds that we
are committed to understanding and healing. I am very grateful to have
encountered and listened to various representatives of the indigenous peoples in
recent months in Rome, and to be able, here in Canada, to renew the good
relations established there. The time we spent together made an impression on me
and left a firm desire to respond to the indignation and shame for the sufferings
endured by the indigenous peoples, and to move forward on a fraternal and patient
journey with all Canadians, in accordance with truth and justice, working for healing
and reconciliation, and constantly inspired by hope.
That “history of suffering and contempt”, the fruit of the colonizing mentality, “does
not heal easily”. Indeed, it should make us realize that “colonization has not ended;
in many places it has been transformed, disguised and concealed” (Querida
Amazonia, 16). This is the case with forms of ideological colonization. In the past,
the colonialist mentality disregarded the concrete life of people and imposed certain
predetermined cultural models; yet today too, there are any number of forms of
ideological colonization that clash with the reality of life, stifle the natural
attachment of peoples to their values, and attempt to uproot their traditions,
history and religious ties. This mentality, presumptuously thinking that the dark
pages of history have been left behind, becomes open to the “cancel culture” that
would judge the past purely on the basis of certain contemporary categories. The
result is a cultural fashion that levels everything out, makes everything equal,
proves intolerant of differences and concentrates on the present moment, on the
needs and rights of individuals, while frequently neglecting their duties with regard
to the most weak and vulnerable of our brothers and sisters: the poor, migrants,
the elderly, the sick, the unborn… They are the forgotten ones in “affluent
societies”; they are the ones who, amid general indifference, are cast aside like dry
leaves to be burnt.
Instead, the rich multicolored foliage of the maple tree reminds us of the
importance of the whole, the importance of developing human communities that are
not blandly uniform, but truly open and inclusive. And just as every leaf is
fundamental for the luxuriant foliage of the branches, so each family, as the
essential cell of society, is to be given its due, because “the future of humanity
passes through the family” (SAINT JOHN PAUL II, Familiaris Consortio, 86). The
family is the first concrete social reality, yet it is threatened by many factors:
domestic violence, the frenetic pace of labour, an individualistic mindset, cutthroat
careerism, unemployment, the loneliness and isolation of young people, the
abandonment of the elderly and the infirm… The indigenous peoples have much to
teach us about care and protection for the family; among them, from an early age,
children learn to recognize right from wrong, to be truthful, to share, to correct
mistakes, to begin anew, to comfort one another and to be reconciled. May the
wrongs that were endured by the indigenous peoples, for which we are ashamed,
serve as a warning to us today, lest concern for the family and its rights be
neglected for the sake of greater productivity and individual interests.
Let us return to the maple leaf. In wartime, soldiers used those leaves for bandages
and for soothing wounds. Today, before the senseless folly of war, we have once
again need to heal forms of hostility and extremism and to cure the wounds of
hatred. A witness of tragic acts of violence in the past recently observed that “peace
has its own secret: never to hate anyone. If we want to live we must never hate”
(Interview with Edith Bruck, Avvenire, 8 March 2022). We have no need to divide
the world into friends and enemies, to create distances and once again to arm
ourselves to the teeth: an arms race and strategies of deterrence will not bring
peace and security. We need to ask ourselves not how to pursue wars, but how to
stop them. And to prevent entire peoples from once more being held hostage and in
the grip of terrible cold wars that are still increasing. What we need are creative
and farsighted policies capable of moving beyond the categories of opposition in
order to provide answers to global challenges.
In fact, the great challenges of our day, like peace, climate change, the effects of
the pandemic and international migration movements, all have one thing in
common: they are global challenges; they regard everyone. And since all of them
speak of the need to consider the whole, politics cannot remain imprisoned in
partisan interests. We need to be able to look, as the indigenous wisdom tradition
teaches, seven generations ahead, and not to our immediate convenience, to the
next elections, or the support of this or that lobby. But we need also to appreciate
the yearning of young people for fraternity, justice and peace. In order to preserve
memory and wisdom, we need to listen to the elderly, but in order to press forward
towards the future, we also need to embrace the dreams of young people. They
deserve a better future than the one we are preparing for them; they deserve to be
involved in decisions about the building of the world of today and tomorrow, and
particularly about the protection of our common home; in this regard, the values
and teachings of the indigenous peoples are precious. Here I would like to express
appreciation for the praiseworthy commitment being made on the local level to
protecting the environment. It could even be said that the symbols drawn from
nature, such as the fleur-de-lis in the flag of this Province of Québec, and the maple
leaf in that of the country, confirm Canada’s ecological vocation.
When the Commission for the creation of the national flag set about evaluating the
thousands of sketches submitted for that purpose, many of them by ordinary
people, it proved surprising that almost all of them contained the image of the
maple leaf. The convergence around this shared symbol leads me to bring up an
essential word for all Canadians: multiculturalism. Multiculturalism is fundamental
for the cohesiveness of a society as diverse as the dappled colours of the foliage of
the maple trees. With its multiple points and sides, the maple leaf reminds us of a
polyhedron; it tells us that you are people capable of inclusion, such that new
arrivals can find a place in that multiform unity and make their own original
contribution to it (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 236). Multiculturalism is a permanent
challenge: it involves accepting and embracing all the different elements present,
while at the same time respecting their diverse traditions and cultures, and never
thinking that the process is complete. In this regard, I express my appreciation for
the generosity shown in accepting many Ukrainian and Afghan migrants. There is
also a need to move beyond the rhetoric of fear with regard to immigrants and to
give them, according to the possibilities of the country, the concrete opportunity to
become involved responsibly in society. For this to happen, rights and democracy
are indispensable. But it is also necessary to confront the individualistic mindset
and to remember that life in common is based on presuppositions that the political
system cannot produce on its own. Here too, the indigenous culture is of great help
in recalling the importance of social values. The Catholic Church, with its universal
dimension, its concern for the most vulnerable, its rightful service to human life at
every moment of its existence, from conception to natural death, is happy to offer
its specific contribution.
In these days, I have heard about the many needy persons who come knocking on
the doors of the parishes. Even in a country as developed and prosperous as
Canada, which pays great attention to social assistance, there are many homeless
persons who turn to churches and food banks to receive essential help in meeting
their needs, which, lest we forget, are not only material. These brothers and sisters
of ours spur us to reflect on the urgent need for efforts to remedy the radical
injustice that taints our world, in which the abundance of the gifts of creation is
unequally distributed. It is scandalous that the well-being generated by economic
development does not benefit all the sectors of society. And it is indeed sad that
precisely among the native peoples we often find many indices of poverty, along
with other negative indicators, such as the low percentage of schooling, and less
than easy access to owning a home and to health care. May the emblem of the
maple leaf, which regularly appears on the labels of the country’s products, serve as
an incentive to everyone to make economic and social decisions that foster
participation and care for those in need.
It is by working in common accord, hand in hand, that today’s pressing challenges
must be faced. I thank you for your hospitality, attention and respect, and with
great affection I assure you that Canada and its people are truly close to my heart.

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MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS TO THE PARTICIPANTS IN THE EU YOUTH CONFERENCE

[…] Among the various proposals of the Global Compact on Education, I would like
to recall two that I also noted in your Conference.
First, be open to acceptance, and hence to the value of inclusion. Don’t let
yourselves be drawn into short-sighted ideologies that want to show others, those
who are different from ourselves, as enemies. Others are an asset. The experience
of the millions of European students who have taken part in the Erasmus Project
testifies to the fact that encounters between people from different peoples help to
open eyes, minds and hearts. It is good to have “a broad outlook” in order to be
open up to others, and not discriminating against anyone, for any reason. Be in
solidarity with everyone, not only with those who look like us, or give off an image
of success, but with those who suffer, whatever their nationality or social status. Let
us not forget that millions of Europeans in the past have had to emigrate to other
continents in search of a future. I myself am the son of Italians who emigrated to
Argentina.
The main objective of the Educational Pact is to educate everyone to a more
fraternal life, based not on competitiveness but on solidarity. Your greatest
aspiration, dear young people, should not be to enter elite educational
environments, where only people with lots of money can be accepted. Such
institutions often have an interest in maintaining the status quo, in training people
to ensure that the system works the way it is. Rather, those schools that combine
educational quality with service to others should be valued, since the purpose of
education is personal growth directed towards the common good. These
experiences of solidarity will change the world, not the “exclusive” (and
exclusionary) experiences of elite schools. Excellence yes, but for all, not just for
some.
I would encourage you to read my Encyclical Fratelli Tutti (3 October 2020) and the
Document on Human Fraternity (4 February 2019), which I signed together with the
Grand Imam of Al-Azhar. I know that many Muslim universities and schools are
reading these texts with interest, and so I hope you too will find them inspiring.
Education, then, should have as its goal not only to “know oneself” but also to know
others. […]

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ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS TO THE DELEGATION OF THE ECUMENICAL PATRIARCHATE OF CONSTANTINOPLE

[…] Sister Churches, Brother Peoples. Reconciliation among separated Christians,
as a means of contributing to peace between peoples in conflict, is a most timely
consideration these days, as our world is disrupted by a cruel and senseless war of
aggression in which many, many Christians are fighting one another. Before the
scandal of war, in the first place, our concern must not be for talking and
discussing, but for weeping, for helping others and for experiencing conversion
ourselves. We need to weep for the victims and the overwhelming bloodshed, the
deaths of so many innocent people, the trauma inflicted on families, cities and an
entire people. How much suffering has been endured by those who have lost their
loved ones and been forced to abandon their homes and their own country! We
need to help these, our brothers and sisters. We are summoned to exercise that
charity which, as Christians, we are obliged to show towards Jesus, present in the
displaced, the poor and the wounded. But we also need to experience conversion,
and to recognize that armed conquest, expansionism and imperialism have nothing
to do with the Kingdom that Jesus proclaimed. Nothing to do with the risen Lord,
who in Gethsemane told his disciples to reject violence, to put the sword back in its
place, since those who live by the sword will die by the sword (Mt 26:52), and who,
cutting short every objection, simply said: “Enough!” (cf. Lk 22:51). […]

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ADDRESS OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS TO PARTICIPANTS IN THE PLENARY ASSEMBLY OF THE MEETING OF THE WORKS FOR AID TO THE EASTERN CHURCHES (R.O.A.C.O.)

[…] Please continue to keep before your eyes the icon of the Good Samaritan. You have done so and I know that you will continue to do so also for the tragedy caused by the conflict in Tigray which has once again wounded Ethiopia and in part also neighbouring Eritrea, and especially for beloved and martyred Ukraine. There we have returned to the drama of Cain and Abel; a life-destroying violence has been unleashed, a Lucifer-like, diabolical violence, to which we believers are called to react with the power of prayer, with the concrete help of charity, with every Christian means so that weapons may give way to negotiations. I would like to thank you for helping to bring the caress of the Church and the Pope to Ukraine and to the countries where refugees have been welcomed. In faith, we know that the heights of human pride and idolatry will be made low, and the valleys of desolation and tears filled, but we would also like to see Isaiah’s prophecy of peace soon fulfilled: that one people will no longer raise its hand against another people, that swords will become plowshares and spears scythes (cf. Is 2:4). Instead, everything seems to be going in the opposite direction: food decreases and the din of weapons increases. It is the strategy of Cain that today marks history.

So let us not stop praying, fasting, helping and working so that the paths of peace might be given more space in the jungle of conflicts. […]

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ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS TO THE SYNOD ASSEMBLY OF THE GREEK-MELKITE CHURCH

[…] The tragedy of the last few months, which sadly compels us to turn our gaze
towards Eastern Europe, should not make us forget what has been taking place in
Syria for the last 12 years. I remember, in the first year of my pontificate, when a
bombardment had been planned over Syria, that we held a night of prayer, here in
Saint Peter’s, and the Most Blessed Sacrament was there too, and the Square was
full [of people] praying. There were also some Muslims who had brought their
prayer rugs and prayed with us. And it was there that the expression “beloved and
martyred Syria” was born. Thousands of dead and wounded, millions of refugees
displaced both internally and abroad, the impossibility of starting the needed
reconstruction. On more than one occasion, I met and heard the stories of young
Syrian youths who had arrived here, and I was struck by the tragedy they carried
within, over what they had experienced and seen, but also their gaze, almost
drained of hope, incapable of dreaming a future for their land. We cannot allow the
last spark of hope to be taken away from the eyes and hearts of young people and
their families! I thus renew my appeal to all those who have responsibilities, within
the country and in the international community, so that a fair and just solution to
the drama in Syria may be found. […]

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ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS TO THE BISHOPS AND PRIESTS OF THE CHURCHES OF SICILY

[…] Sicily is not excluded from this change; on the contrary, as has happened in
the past, she finds herself at the centre of the historical pathways drawn by
continental populations. She has frequently received the passage of these peoples,
some as rulers, some as migrants, and by welcoming them, has integrated them
into her fabric, developing a culture of her own. I remember when, around forty
years ago, I was shown a film on Sicily: “Kaos”, it was called. There were four tales
by Pirandello, the great Sicilian. I was struck by that beauty, that culture, that
“continental insularity”, let’s call it… But this does not mean that it is a happy
island, since the condition of insularity profoundly affects Sicilian society, and ends
up highlighting the contradictions we carry within ourselves. It is true that in Sicily
we witness behaviour and gestures both of great virtue and of cruel brutality. Just
as, alongside masterpieces of extraordinary artistic beauty, we witness scenes of
mortifying neglect. And equally, next to men men and women of great culture,
many children and young people skip school and remain left out of a dignified
human life. Sicilian daily life takes on strong hues, such as the intense colours of
the sky and flowers, fields and the sea, which shine in the strength of the sun’s
radiance. Not by chance, a great deal of blood has been shed at the hand of the
violent, but also through the humble and heroic resistance of the saints and the
just, servants of the Church and of the State.
The current social situation in Sicily has been in sharp regression for years; a
precise sign is the depopulation of the island, due both to the falling birth rate and
the massive emigration of young people. Distrust in institutions reaches high levels
and the dysfunction of services hinders the performance of daily tasks, as well as
the efforts of valid and honest people, who would like to engage and change the
system. It is necessary to understand how and in what direction Sicily is
experiencing the epoch change and what paths she could take, in order to proclaim,
in the fractures and joints of this change, the Gospel of Christ. […]

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ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS TO THE DELEGATION OF THE GLOBAL SOLIDARITY FUND

Dear brother, Cardinal Tomasi,
Dear friends,
I am pleased to meet with you once again and to see the progress that you are
making.
Your name, Global Solidarity Fund, is centred on a key word: solidarity, a core value
of the social doctrine of the Church. Yet in order to make this word a reality, it
needs to be accompanied by closeness and compassion for others, for people who
are marginalized and for the faces of the poor and migrants.
The composition of the group that represents the Global Solidarity Fund here today
is revealing: you belong to very different sectors of society, yet you work together
to create a more inclusive economy, giving rise to integration and employment for
migrants in a spirit of listening and encounter. This is a courageous path!
I thank you for the gifts you brought me from the migrants who are participating in
your programmes in Colombia and Ethiopia. I bless each of you and your work. I
encourage you to move forward in your commitment to support migrants and the
most vulnerable by sharing your talents. And please remember to pray for me.

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MESSAGE OF THE HOLY FATHER TO PARTICIPANTS IN THE PLENARY COUNCIL OF THE INTERNATIONAL CATHOLIC MIGRATION COMMISSION

Dear brothers and sisters,
I am pleased to greet all of you taking part in the Plenary Council of the
International Catholic Migration Commission.
In these days, you are called to carry out three very important tasks: to choose the
Commission’s new governing committee, to approve its new statutes, and to
determine its operational guidelines for the coming years. I readily take this
opportunity to emphasize some points that I believe can help you in your
discernment.
The Commission was founded in 1951 by Venerable Pope Pius XII in order to form a
network among Bishops’ Conferences worldwide to assist them in their pastoral
care of migrants and refugees. Its nature and ecclesial mission distinguish it from
other organizations operating in civil society and in the Church. The Commission is
a collegial expression of the pastoral activity in the area of migration on the part of
the Bishops, who, in communion with the Pope, share in his concern for the
universal Church “in a bond of peace, love and unity” (Lumen Gentium, 22). For
this reason, in the Apostolic Constitution Praedicate Evangelium it is mentioned and
included among the competences of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human
Development (cf. Art. 174 § 2), so that its nature and mission can be safeguarded
in accordance with its founding principles. In your Plenary Council, you officially
represent the Bishops’ Conferences affiliated to the Commission. Their willingness
to work together in order to welcome, protect, promote and integrate migrants and
refugees is confirmed by your presence.
The ecclesial mission of the Commission is carried out on two tracks: ad intra and
ad extra. It is primarily called to offer expert assistance to Bishops’ Conferences
and Dioceses that find themselves needing to respond to today’s many complex
challenges with regard to migration. It strives, then, to promote the development
and implementation of projects of pastoral care for migrants and the specialized
training of pastoral workers in the field of migration, at the service of the particular
Churches and in accordance with its proper competences.
Ad extra, the Commission is called to respond to global challenges and migratory
emergencies with focused programs, always in communion with the local Churches.
As an organization of civil society on the international level, it is also engaged in
advocacy. The Commission expresses the Church’s commitment and works for a
broader international awareness on issues involving migration. In this way, it
fosters respect for human rights and promotes human dignity in line with the
Church’s social doctrine.
I offer you my heartfelt thanks for the Commission’s work over the past seventy
years. Many of these activities have had a truly decisive impact. I thank you in
particular for your committed efforts to help the Churches respond to the
challenges associated with the vast displacement of persons caused by the conflict
in Ukraine, which has seen the largest movement of refugees in Europe since the
Second World War.
At the same time, we cannot forget the millions of asylum seekers, refugees and
displaced persons in other parts of the world, who desperately need to be
welcomed, protected and loved. As a Church, we wish to serve everyone and to
work diligently to build a future of peace. You have the opportunity to give a face to
the Church’s charitable activity on their behalf!
I offer all of you my prayerful good wishes for the fruitfulness of your work, and I
assure you of my remembrance in prayer. And I ask you, please, to remember me
in your own prayers.

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ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS TO MEMBERS OF THE “POLITICAL FRATERNITY” OF THE “CHEMIN NEUF” COMMUNITY

Dear friends!
I am very pleased to welcome you, the young members of the “Political Fraternity”
of Chemin Neuf. When we met last year, you had asked me to pray for your
participation in the Changemakers event in Budapest. There you experienced
moments of encounter and learning, as well as activities, along with local groups.
The way you participated in this event strikes me as a good method of putting into
practice the genuine meaning of politics, especially for Christians. Politics is
encounter, reflection, action.
Politics is, first and foremost, an art of encounter. Certainly, this encounter consists
of being open to others and accepting their differences as part of a respectful
dialogue. For Christians, however, there is more. Because the Gospel demands that
we love our enemies (cf. Mt 5:44), we cannot rest content with superficial and
formal dialogue, along the lines of the often hostile negotiations between political
parties. Instead, we are called to see political encounters as fraternal encounters,
especially with people who disagree with us. That means regarding our dialogue
partner as a true brother or sister, a beloved son or daughter of God. The art of
encounter, then, begins with changing the way we look at others, with showing
them unconditional acceptance and respect. Without such a change of heart,
politics often risks turning into a violent confrontation, where people try to impose
their own ideas and pursue particular interests over the common good, contrary to
the principle that “unity prevails over conflict” (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 226-230).
From a Christian standpoint, politics is also reflection, that is, the devising of a
common project. An eighteenth-century political leader, Edmund Burke, thus told
the electors of Bristol that as a Member of Parliament he would not be limited to
defending their particular interests, but sent in their name to pursue along with
other members of Parliament the interest of the entire country, the general good.
As Christians, we recognize that politics is practiced not only through encounter, but
also through shared reflection in the pursuit of this general good, not simply
through the clash of differing and often opposed interests. In a word, “the whole is
greater than the part” (cf. ibid., 234-237). Our own compass for advancing this
common project is the Gospel, which brings to the world a profoundly positive
vision of humanity as loved by God.
Finally, politics is also action. I am pleased that your Fraternity is not satisfied to be
merely a forum for discussion and exchange, but is also directing you to concrete
forms of commitment. As Christians, we must always be realistic, confronting our
ideas with hard reality, lest we build on sands that sooner or later end up shifting.
Let us not forget that “realities are more important than ideas” (cf. ibid., 231-233).
In this regard, I encourage your efforts on behalf of migrants and ecology. I have
also learned that some of you have chosen to live together in a working-class
quarter of Paris, in order to listen to the voices of the poor: that is a Christian way
of engaging in political life! Don’t forget these things, that realities are more
important than ideas: politics cannot be practiced with ideology. That the whole is
greater than the part, and that unity prevails over conflict. Always seek unity and
do not get lost in conflict. […]