A new home

Europe and migrants: the contribution of the Church

Follows an ample excerpt of the opening address by CCEE vice-president and archbishop of Zagreb Card. Josip Bozanic at the Eighth European Congress on Migration titled "Europe of People on the Move. Overcoming fears. Planning Projects".Even those compelled to leave their own countries to seek a better life abroad are in dire need of being loved. And they feel the need to be close to their family, which will give them the strength to face the fears linked to integration within a new environment. Even for this, they must be received as human persons and not as objects, slaves or as a commodity. The conclusion is rather straightforward. A society where love is truly experienced helps overcome the fears. For this reason, when addressing the question of migration the Community and family dimension of the immigrant person must always be taken into account. A solution will never be found if only the aspect of justice and legislation are considered. (…)A migrant person arriving in an unknown country, fleeing from wars or persecutions, hunger-stricken or motivated by the need to put his professional skills to value or in search of a job that will enable him to support his family, is also bringing his very own vision of the world and his own religious experience. But the migrant person also finds a new reality that he is called to become familiar with and to love in order to plan his future. This is the area where the communities, Christian communities in particular, are called to contribute the most. In granting hospitality to the migrant, communities must be capable of appreciating the migrant’s diversity leading to the discovery of the new home, while providing the migrant with the possibility to live within the local cultural framework. But a migrant person is not alone. Other persons from the immigrant’s country of departure are already living in the country of arrival. They constitute a small community within the national society of destination. This implies an inter-cultural dialogue between persons and communities. The proposal of integration does not imply cultural unity. The encounter of persons creates dialogue. While it’s wrong to want the other person to be like ourselves, it’s equally wrong to neglect the cultural identity of the hosting Country, and not only because of the risk of enclaves but because there is the wish to transform the country of arrival into the country of departure, as if society were something neutral. The Church believes that immigrants’ rights should be upheld whilst not neglecting those of the persons living in the country of arrival. This is why governments must, in the name of justice and of the common good, redefine migration policies intended for the protection of the identity and of the good of their communities without overlooking the dignity of all human persons. This requires a responsible commitment in finding the ways to foster the development of the Countries of departure.(…) It must be remembered that the objective is to bring to everyone, to those accompanying the migrants and most of all, to those who represent the reason of our gathering, namely the migrants and the national communities they decide to enter, a sign of hope and a renewed commitment. May the logic of charity guide us in our conception of reality and of the future, and encompass all aspects of charity and migration. This opening to the truth makes of charity the only social force that is capable of generating peace and full development.

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