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Pope Francis: to participants in Conference on xenophobia and populism, politics should not succumb to the “temptation of exploiting fears” for “short-sighted electoral interests”

foto SIR/Marco Calvarese

In his prepared remarks, the Pope referred to the topics that were the focus of the World Conference which, for the first time, was jointly organised in Rome by the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and the World Council of Churches (WCC) in collaboration with the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. “We live in times in which feelings that many people thought had passed are resurging and spreading”, the Holy Father wrote. “Feelings of suspicion, fear, contempt and even hatred against individuals or groups judged for their ethnic, national or religious identity who, as such, are considered unworthy to fully participate in the life of society. Such feelings, then, too often inspire real acts of intolerance, discrimination or exclusion which seriously undermine the dignity of the persons involved and their fundamental rights, including the right to life itself and to physical and moral integrity”. “The seriousness of such events cannot leave us indifferent. We are all called, in our respective roles, to cultivate and promote respect for the intrinsic dignity of every human person, starting with the family – the place where, from a very young age, we learn the values of sharing, hospitality, brotherhood and solidarity – but also in the various social contexts in which we live”. Pope Francis’ speech is not only addressed to the world of politics. “Those who profit economically from a climate of suspicion towards foreigners – the Pope said – where irregular and illegal stays foster and fuel a system of precarious work and exploitation – sometimes to the point of creating real forms of slavery – should make a profound examination of conscience, knowing that one day they will be held accountable before God for the decisions they made”.

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