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Pope Francis: to Migration Commission, “liberating the poor, the oppressed and the persecuted is an integral part of the Church’s mission”

foto SIR/Marco Calvarese

“Today as in the past, liberating the poor, the oppressed and the persecuted is an integral part of the mission entrusted by God to the Church”. Pope Francis said this today as he received in audience in the Clementine Hall the members of the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC), on the occasion of their Plenary Council that ends in Rome today. “This fact has not changed over time; on the contrary, your commitment has deepened in response to the inhumane living conditions experienced by millions of our migrant and refugee brothers and sisters in various parts of the world”, Pope Francis continued: “Much has changed since your establishment in 1951. Needs have grown ever more complex, tools for responding ever more sophisticated, and your service increasingly professional. Thanks be to God, none of these changes has lessened the Commission’s fidelity to its mission”. Indeed, “in its more than sixty-five years of work, the Commission has distinguished itself in carrying out in the Church’s name a multifaceted work of assistance to migrants and refugees in a variety of situations of great need”. “The multiple projects initiated on five continents represent exemplary instances of the four verbs – welcome, defend, promote and integrate – by which I wished to characterize the Church’s pastoral response in the face of contemporary migration”, the Pope said, praising the work carried out by the Commission, and expressing the hope that such “work will continue to inspire local Churches to do all they can for persons forced to leave their home countries and who, all too often, become victims of dishonesty, violence and abuse of every sort”. “Thanks to the invaluable experience accumulated over many years of work, the Commission is able to offer expert assistance to Bishops’ Conferences and Dioceses that seek to respond more effectively to this epochal challenge” – which is another task entrusted to the Church body.

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