FOR THE PASTORAL CARE OF MIGRANTS AND ITINERANT PEOPLE
Erga migrantes caritas Christi
(The love of Christ towards migrants)
THE MIGRATION PHENOMENON
The challenge of human
MIGRATION, SIGN OF THE TIMES AND CONCERN FOR THE
Migration as seen with the eyes of
Migration and the History of
Christ the “foreigner” and Mary, a living symbol of the
The Church of
The Church’s care for migrants and
The Second Vatican Ecumenical
Pastoral lines of the Magisterium
Entities of the Holy
MIGRANTS AND THE PASTORAL CARE OF
Inculturation, cultural and religious
The Church of the Second Vatican Ecumenical
Liturgy and popular
Eastern Rite Catholic
Migrants of other Churches and Ecclesial
Migrants of other religions in
Four matters calling for particular
WORKERS IN A PASTORAL CARE OF
In the home and the host
The national co-ordinator for
Diocesan/eparchial presbyters as
Religious presbyters, brothers and sisters working among
The laity, lay associations and ecclesial movements: for an engagement among
THE STRUCTURES OF MISSIONARY PASTORAL
Unity in plurality: the
Integrated pastoral care and its various
Semina Verbi (Seeds of the
A dialoguing and missionary spirit in pastoral
The Church and Christians, sign of
Chap. I: The lay
Chap. II: Chaplains/missionaries
Chap. III: Men and women
Chap. IV: Church
Chap. V: Episcopal Conferences and corresponding hierarchical structures of the
Eastern Catholic Churches
Chap. VI: The Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant
Today’s migration makes up the vastest movement of people of all times. In these
last decades, the phenomenon, now involving about two hundred million
individuals, has turned into a structural reality of contemporary society. It is
becoming an increasingly complex problem from the social, cultural, political,
religious, economic and pastoral points of view.
Taking into consideration the new migration flows and their characteristics, the
Instruction Erga migrantes caritas Christi aims to update the pastoral
care of migration, thirty-five years after the publication of Pope Paul VI’s
Motu Proprio Pastoralis migratorum cura and the Congregation for Bishops’
related Instruction De pastorali migratorum cura (Nemo est).
Thus it intends to be an ecclesial response to the new pastoral needs of
migrants and lead them towards the transformation of their migration experience
not only into an opportunity to grow in Christian life, but also an occasion of
new evangelization and mission. Furthermore, the document aims to apply
accurately the norms contained both in the Code of Canon Law for the Latin
Church and in the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches in order to respond
more adequately to the pastoral needs of the emigrant faithful of the Eastern
Churches. They are now more and more numerous.
The composition of today’s migration also requires an ecumenical vision of the
phenomenon because of the presence of many migrants not in full communion with
the Catholic Church. It also imposes the need of inter-religious dialogue
because of the increasing number of migrants belonging to other religions,
particularly Muslims, in traditionally Catholic countries, and vice-versa.
Finally, another purely pastoral need, which is indispensable, is the promotion
of pastoral action that is both faithful to tradition and open to new
developments. These include pastoral structures which must also be apt to
guarantee communion between pastoral agents in the field of migration and the
local hierarchy in the receiving country. The latter continues to be the
decisive organ of the solicitude of the Church for migrants.
The document then rapidly reviews some causes of today’s migration phenomenon
(globalization, demographic changes especially in the countries that were
industrialized first, increase in inequality between North and South, the
proliferation of conflicts and civil wars). After that, it highlights the grave
difficulties that emigration generally entails for individuals, particularly
women and children, as well as for families. Such a phenomenon raises the
ethical problem of establishing a new international economic order with a more
equitable distribution of the goods of the earth, in which the international
community is considered a family of peoples whose relations are governed by
International Law. Next, the Document presents a specific biblico-theological
frame of reference, incorporating the migration phenomenon into the history of
salvation, as a sign of the times and of the presence of God in history and in
the community of peoples, directed to universal communion.
A brief historical excursus attests to the solicitude of the Church for
migrants and refugees in its documents, from Exsul Familia to the Second
Vatican Ecumenical Council, the Instruction De pastorali migratorum cura
and the subsequent canonical norms. All this reveals important theological and
pastoral insights. These include the centrality of the person of the migrant and
the defense of his rights, the ecclesial and missionary dimension of migration
itself, the consideration of the pastoral contribution of the lay faithful, the
Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life, the value of
culture in the work of evangelization, the protection and the valorization of
minorities also in the local Church, the importance of ecclesial dialogue, both
intra and extra, and finally, the specific contribution that
migration can offer for universal peace.
There then follows a presentation of other topics: the need for “inculturation”,
the vision of Church as communion, mission and People of God, the ever new
importance of a specific pastoral care for migrants, the dialogical-missionary
commitment of all the members of the Mystical Body of Christ, and the consequent
duty of forming a culture of welcome and solidarity. These introduce the
analysis of pastoral questions that require responses, specifically the pastoral
approaches among Catholic migrants, both of the Latin and the Eastern rites, of
migrants who belong to other Churches or Ecclesial Communities, and those who
are followers of other religions, Islam in particular.
After this comes a more detailed description, or pastoral and juridical
definition, of pastoral agents (namely, Chaplains/Missionaries and their
National Coordinators, diocesan/eparchial priests, religious priests and
brothers, women religious, lay people, lay associations and ecclesial
movements), whose apostolic commitment is seen and considered in view of a
“pastoral care of communion”, an integrated one.
Another important pastoral characteristic, that the Document points out and
proposes to the particular Churches, is the integration of pastoral structures
(those already established and those proposed) and the ecclesial inclusion of
migrants in ordinary pastoral care, with full respect for their legitimate
diversity and of their spiritual and cultural patrimony, also in view of the
formation of a concretely Catholic Church. Such an integration is an essential
condition for pastoral care, for and with migrants, to become a
significant expression of the universal Church and missio ad Gentes,
fraternal and peaceful meeting, house of everyone, school of communion that is
received and shared, of reconciliation that is implored and granted, of mutual
and fraternal welcome and solidarity, as well as authentic human and Christian
The Instruction concludes with updated and accurate “juridico-pastoral
regulations”, which uses appropriate language in recalling duties, tasks and
roles of pastoral agents and of the various Church entities in charge of the
pastoral care of migration.
Stephen Fumio Cardinal Hamao
+ Agostino Marchetto
Titular Archbishop of Astigi
1. The love of Christ towards migrants urges us (cf. 2 Co 5:14)to look afresh at their problems, which are to be met with today all over the
world. In fact nearly all countries are now faced with the eruption of the
migration phenomenon in one aspect or another; it affects their social,
economic, political and religious life and is becoming more and more a permanent
structural phenomenon. Migration is often determined by a free decision of the
migrants themselves, taken fairly frequently not only for economic reasons but
also for cultural, technical or scientific motives. As such it is for the most
part a clear indication of social, economic and demographic imbalance on a
regional or world-wide level, which drives people to emigrate.
The roots of the phenomenon can also be traced back to exaggerated nationalism
and, in many countries, even to hatred and systematic or violent exclusion of
ethnic or religious minorities from society. This can be seen in civil,
political, ethnic and even religious conflicts raging in all continents. Such
tensions swell the growing flood of refugees, who often mingle with other
migrants. The impact can be felt in host societies, in which ethnic groups and
people with different languages and cultures are brought together with the risk
of reciprocal opposition and conflict.
2. Migration, however, also helps people get to know one another and provides
opportunity for dialogue and communion or indeed integration at various levels.
Pope John Paul II drew attention to this in his Message for the World Day for
Peace 2001: “In the case of many civilisations, immigration has brought new
growth and enrichment. In other cases, the local people and immigrants have
remained culturally separate but have shown that they are able to live together,
respecting each other and accepting or tolerating the diversity of customs.”
3. The challenge confronting us in today’s migrations is not an easy one because
many different spheres are involved: economics, sociology, politics, health,
culture and security. All Christians must respond to this challenge; it is not
just a matter of good will or the personal charisma of a few.
We must not, however, forget the generous response of many men and women,
associations and organisations which, seeing the sufferings of countless persons
caused by emigration, are struggling for the rights of migrants, forced or
voluntary, and for their defence. The commitment of these people can be
attributed above all to that compassion of Jesus, the Good Samaritan,
that the Spirit stirs up everywhere in the hearts of men and women of good will
and in the Church too, which “relives once more the mystery of her Divine
Founder, the mystery of life and death”.
Moreover the task entrusted by our Lord to His Church to proclaim the Word of
God has been interwoven from the very beginning with the history of the
emigration of Christians.
We therefore thought of writing this Instruction. Its prime purpose is to
respond to the new spiritual and pastoral needs of migrants and to make
migration more and more an instrument of dialogue and proclamation of the
Christian message. In addition this Document sets out to provide an answer to
certain important present-day needs. This includes the necessity to take into
due account the new norms of the two Codes of Canon Law now in force for the
Latin Church and the Eastern Catholic Churches, thus answering the particular
needs of the growing numbers of emigrants of the Eastern Catholic Churches. Then
there is also the need to bear in mind the ecumenical aspect of the phenomenon,
owing to the presence among migrants of Christians not in full communion with
the Catholic Church, and also the inter-religious aspect, owing to the
increasing number of migrants of other religions, in particular Muslims. Finally
our pastoral care must be open to new developments in pastoral structures
themselves, while at the same time guaranteeing communion between pastoral
workers in this specific field and the local hierarchy.
4. The ever-increasing migration phenomenon today is an important component of
that growing interdependence among nation states that goes to make up
which has flung markets wide open but not frontiers, has demolished boundaries
for the free circulation of information and capital, but not to the same extent
those for the free circulation of people. No state is any longer exempt from the
consequences of some form of migration, which is often strongly linked to
negative factors. These include the demographic changes that are taking place in
countries that were industrialised first, the increase in inequality between
north and south, the existence of protectionist barriers in international trade,
which do not allow emerging countries to sell their products on competitive
terms in the markets of western countries and, finally, the proliferation of
civil wars and conflicts. All these factors will increase migration flows in the
years to come (cf. EEu 87, 115 and PaG 67), even though the
appearance of terrorism on the international scene will provoke reactions for
security reasons. These reactions will inevitably obstruct the movement of
migrants who dream of finding a job and security in the so-called wealthy
countries which, for their part, require more manpower.
5. It is not surprising, therefore, that migration meant and still means
enormous hardships and suffering for the migrants. Yet, especially in more
recent times and in certain circumstances, it has often been encouraged and
promoted to foster the economic development of both the migrants’ host country
and their country of origin (especially through their financial remittances).
Many nations, in fact, would not be what they are today without the contribution
made by millions of immigrants.
The emigration of family nuclei and women is particularly marked by suffering.
Women migrants are becoming more and more numerous. They are often contracted as
unskilled labourers (or domestics) and employed illegally. Often migrants are
deprived of their most elementary human rights, including that of forming labour
unions, when they do not become outright victims of the sad phenomenon of human
trafficking, which no longer spares even children. This is a new chapter in the
history of slavery.
However, even without such extremes, it is necessary to reiterate that foreign
workers are not to be considered merchandise or merely manpower. Therefore they
should not be treated just like any other factor of production. Every migrant
enjoys inalienable fundamental rights which must be respected in all cases.
Furthermore the migrants’ contribution to the economy of the host country comes
together with the possibility for them to use their intelligence and abilities
in their work.
6. In this regard, the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights
of All Migrant Workers and the Members of their Families – which entered into
force on 1 July 2003 and whose ratification was strongly recommended by Pope
John Paul II–
offers a compendium of rights
that give migrants the possibility to make such a contribution. What the
Convention foresees therefore deserves the adherence particularly of those
states that benefit most from migration. To this end, the Church encourages the
ratification of the international legal instruments that ensure the rights of
migrants, refugees and their families. The Church also offers its advocacy,
which is more and more necessary today, through its various competent
institutions and associations (as centres for migrant needs, houses open to
them, offices for necessary services, documentation and counselling, etc.).
Migrants are often victims of illegal recruitment and of short-term contracts
providing poor working and living conditions. This is because they often have to
suffer physical, verbal and even sexual abuse, work long hours, often without
the benefits of medical care and the usual forms of social security.
The precarious situation of so many foreigners, which should arouse everyone’s
solidarity, instead brings about fear in many, who feel that immigrants are a
burden, regard them with suspicion and even consider them a danger and a threat.
This often provokes manifestations of intolerance, xenophobia and racism.
7. The growing presence of Muslims, as well as followers of other religions, in
traditionally Christian countries falls under the broader and more complex
heading of the meeting between cultures and interreligious dialogue. In any
case, Christians are also present in significant numbers in some nations whose
populations are in the vast majority Muslim.
In the face of the widespread migratory phenomenon, with aspects profoundly
different today from what they were in the past, policies on a purely national
level would be of little value. No country today may think that it can solve
migration problems on its own. Even more ineffective would be purely restrictive
policies, which, in turn, would generate still more negative effects, with the
risk of increasing illegal entries and even favouring the activities of criminal
8. International migration must therefore be considered an important structural
component of the social, economic and political reality of the world today. The
large numbers involved call for closer and closer collaboration between
countries of origin and destination, in addition to adequate norms capable of
harmonising the various legislative provisions. The aim of this would be to
safeguard the needs and rights of the emigrants and their families and,
likewise, those of the societies receiving them.
At the same time, however, migration raises a truly ethical question: the search
for a new international economic order for a more equitable distribution of the
goods of the earth. This would make a real contribution to reducing and checking
the flow of a large number of migrants from populations in difficulty. From this
there follows the need for a more effective commitment to educational and
pastoral systems that form people in a “global dimension”, that is, a new vision
of the world community, considered as a family of peoples, for whom the goods of
the earth are ultimately destined when things are seen from the perspective of
the universal common good.
9. Migration today furthermore imposes new commitments of evangelisation and
solidarity on Christians and calls them to examine more profoundly those values
shared by other religious or lay groups and indispensable to ensure a harmonious
life together. The passage from monocultural to multicultural societies can be a
sign of the living presence of God in history and in the community of mankind,
for it offers a providential opportunity for the fulfilment of God’s plan for a
universal communion. This new historical context is characterised by the
thousand different faces of humanity and, unlike the past, diversity is becoming
commonplace in very many countries. Therefore Christians are called to give
witness to and practise not only the spirit of tolerance – itself a great
achievement, politically and culturally speaking, not to mention religiously –
but also respect for the other’s identity. Thus, where it is possible and
opportune, they can open a way towards sharing with people of different origins
and cultures, also in view of a “respectful proclamation” of their own faith. We
are all therefore called to a culture of solidarity,
often solicited by the Magisterium, so as to achieve together a real communion
of persons. This is the laborious path that the Church invites everyone to
10. Recent times have also seen a considerable increase of domestic migration in
various countries, sometimes voluntary, as that from country districts to
cities, sometimes forced, as in the case of evacuees and of persons fleeing from
terrorism, violence and drug-trafficking, especially in Africa and Latin
America. It is estimated that world-wide the majority of migrants today remain
within their own nations, in some cases moving about on a seasonal basis.
This type of mobility, left for the most part to evolve unattended, has
encouraged the rapid and disordered expansion of urban centres unprepared to
take in such masses of people and has fomented the growth of slums where
conditions of life are socially and morally precarious. It compels migrants to
settle in an environment that is very different from their place of origin, thus
creating considerable hardship and grave danger of social uprooting with serious
consequences for the religious and cultural traditions of these populations.
Nevertheless domestic migration keeps arousing great hopes, unfortunately often
unfounded and illusory, in millions of persons, although it separates them from
their family bonds and puts them in places with different climate and customs,
even if the language may still be the same. If these migrants later return to
where they came from, they take with them a changed mentality, a different way
of life, and not rarely another outlook on the world or religion, and divergent
behaviour. This also challenges the pastoral action of the Church as Mother and
11. In this field too, today’s situation thus requires of pastoral workers and
host communities, in other words, of the Church, loving attention to “people on
the move” and to their need for solidarity and fellowship. Through domestic
migration too, the Spirit launches a clear and urgent appeal to renew and
intensify our commitment to evangelisation and charity. This calls for
well-designed forms of welcome and pastoral activity, that is, continuous,
thorough and adapted as closely as possible to the actual situation and specific
needs of the migrants.
Migration, Sign of the Times and Concern for the Church
Migration as seen with the eyes of faith
12. In migrants the Church has always contemplated the image of Christ who said,
“I was a stranger and you made me welcome” (Mt 25:35). Their condition
is, therefore, a challenge to the faith and love of believers, who are called on
to heal the evils caused by migration and discover the plan God pursues through
it even when caused by obvious injustices. Migration brings together the
manifold components of the human family and thus leads to the construction of an
ever vaster and more varied society, almost a prolongation of that meeting of
peoples and ethnic groups that, through the gift of the Holy Spirit at
Pentecost, became ecclesial fraternity.
If, on the one hand, the suffering that goes with migration is neither more nor
less than the birth-pangs of a new humanity, on the other the inequalities and
disparities behind this suffering reveal the deep wounds that sin causes in the
human family. They are thus an urgent appeal for true fraternity.
13. This vision leads us to approach migration in the light of those biblical
events that mark the phases of humanity’s arduous journey towards the birth of a
people without discrimination or frontiers, depository of God’s gift for all
nations and open to man’s eternal vocation. Faith perceives in it the journey of
the Patriarchs, sustained by the promise as they moved towards the future
homeland, and that of the Hebrews, freed from slavery, as they crossed the Red
Sea in the Exodus, that formed the People of the Covenant. Again, in a certain
sense, faith finds in migration an exile, in which every goal reached in fact is
relative. In migration faith discovers once more the universal message of the
prophets, who denounce discrimination, oppression, deportation, dispersion and
persecution as contrary to God’s plan. At the same time they proclaim salvation
for all, witnessing even in the chaotic events and contradictions of human
history, that God continues to work out his plan of salvation until all things
are brought together in Christ (cf. Eph 1:10).
14. We can therefore consider the present-day phenomenon of migration a
significant “sign of the times”, a challenge to be discovered and utilised in
our work to renew humanity and proclaim the gospel of peace.
The Holy Scriptures show us clearly what all this means. Israel traced its
origins back to Abraham, who in obedience to God’s call left his home and went
to a foreign land, taking with him the divine Promise that he would become the
father “of a great nation” (Gn 12:1-2). Jacob, a wandering Aramaen, “went
down into Egypt with a small household and lived there as an alien. But there he
became a nation, great, strong and numerous” (Dt 26:5). After its long
servitude in Egypt Israel received its solemn investiture as the “People of God”
during its forty-year “Exodus” through the desert. The hard test of migration
and deportation is therefore fundamental to the story of the chosen people in
view of the salvation of all peoples: Israel knew the return from exile (cf.
Is 42:6-7; 49:5). With these memories it could take new heart in its trust
in God, even in the darkest moments of its history (Ps 105 : 12-15;
Ps 106 : 45-47).With regard to the foreigner living in the country, the Law
enjoins the same commandment on Israel as applies to “the children of your
people” (Lv 19:18), that is, “you must … love him as yourself” (Lv
15. In the foreigner a Christian sees not simply a neighbour, but the face of
Christ Himself, who was born in a manger and fled into Egypt, where he was a
foreigner, summing up and repeating in His own life the basic experience of His
people (cf. Mt 2:13ff). Born away from home and coming from another land
(cf. Lk 2:4-7), “he came to dwell among us” (cf. Jn 1:11,14) and
spent His public life on the move, going through towns and villages (cf. Lk
13:22; Mt 9:35). After His resurrection, still a foreigner and unknown,
He appeared on the way to Emmaus to two of His disciples, who only recognised
Him at the breaking of the bread (cf. Lk 24:35). So Christians are
followers of a man on the move “who has nowhere to lay his head (Mt 8:20;
In the same way Mary, the Mother of Jesus, can be equally well contemplated as a
living symbol of the woman emigrant9.She
gave birth to her Son away from home (cf. Lk 2:1-7) and was compelled to
flee to Egypt (cf. Mt 2:13-14). Popular devotion is right to consider
Mary as the Madonna of the Way.
16. Contemplating now the Church, we see that it was born from Pentecost,
fulfilment of the Paschal Mystery. It was a real and symbolic meeting of
peoples, which later led Paul to declare, “There is no room for distinction
between Greek and Jew, between the circumcised and the uncircumcised, or between
barbarian and Scythian, slave and free man” (Col 3:11). For Christ in
fact “has made the two into one and broken down the barrier which used to keep
them apart” (Eph 2:14).
To follow Christ means to walk behind Him and be in transit in the world because
“there is no eternal city for us in this life” (Heb 13:14). The believer
is always a pároikos, a temporary resident, a guest wherever he may be
(cf. 1Pt 1:1; 2:11; Jn 17:14-16). This means that for Christians
it is not all that important where they live geographically10,
while a sense for hospitality is natural to them. The apostles insist on this
point (cf. Rm 12:13; Heb 13:2; 1Pt 4:9; 3 Jn 5), and
the Pastoral Letters enjoin this particularly on the episkopos (cf. 1Tim
3:2; Tt 1:8). In the early Church, hospitality was the Christians’
response to the needs of itinerant missionaries, of religious leaders in exile
or on a journey, and of poor members of various communities11.
17. Foreigners are also a visible sign and an effective reminder of that
universality which is a constituent element of the Catholic Church. A vision of
Isaiah announced this: “In the days to come the mountain of the temple of Yahweh
shall tower above the mountains… All the nations will stream to it” (Is
2:2). In the gospel our Lord Himself prophesied that “people from east and west,
from north and south, will come to take their places at the feast in the kingdom
of God” (Lk 13:29), and the Apocalypse sees “a huge number… from every
nation, race, tribe and language” (Ap 7:9). The Church is now toiling on
its way to this final goal12;
today’s migrations can remind us of this “huge number” and be seen as a call and
prefiguration of the final meeting of all humanity with God and in God.
18. Migrants’ journeying can thus become a living sign of an eternal vocation, a
constant stimulus to that hope which points to a future beyond this present
world, inspiring the transformation of the world in love and eschatological
victory. The peculiarities of migrants is an appeal for us to live again the
fraternity of Pentecost, when differences are harmonised by the Spirit and
charity becomes authentic in accepting one another. So the experience of
migration can be the announcement of the paschal mystery, in which death and
resurrection make for the creation of a new humanity in which there is no longer
slave or foreigner (cf. Gal 3:28).
The Church’s care for migrants and refugees
19. The migrations of the last century represented a challenge to the pastoral
care of the Church, which was organised on the basis of stable territorial
parishes. Previously members of the clergy had accompanied groups setting off
abroad to colonise new lands, but from the middle of the 19th century
on, the pastoral care of migrants was entrusted more and more frequently to
Then in 1914 the Decree Ethnografica studia14
dealt for the first time with the question of clergy involved in the care of
migrants. It stressed the responsibility of the local Church to assist
immigrants and suggested that the local clergy be given specific preparation for
this, linguistically, culturally and pastorally. A little later, following the
promulgation of the Code of Canon Law, the Decree Magni semper of 191815
gave the Consistorial Congregation competence for matters concerning the
authorisation of clergy for assistance to migrants.
Following the Second World War the migration phenomenon became even more
dramatic not only as a result of the devastation caused by the conflict but also
by the worsening of the phenomenon of refugees (especially from what was termed
the Eastern Countries), many of whom belonged to various Eastern Catholic
20. By then the need was thus being felt for a document to bring together the
heritage of previous regulations and provisions and offer an orientation for an
organic pastoral care. This was wisely answered on 1st August 1952 in
Pope Pius XII’s Apostolic Constitution Exsul Familia16,
which is considered the magna charta of the Church’s thought on
migration. It is the first official document of the Holy See to delineate the
pastoral care of migrants globally and systematically, from both the historical
and canonical points of view. In the Constitution, a wide-ranging historical
analysis is followed by a detailed exposition of norms. It affirmed that the
primary responsibility for the pastoral care of migrants lay with the local
diocesan bishop, even though the actual organisation of the matter was still
laid down by the Consistorial Congregation.
The Second Vatican Ecumenical Council
21. Later on the Second Vatican Council worked out important directives for this
particular pastoral work. It called on Christians in particular to be aware of
the phenomenon of migration (cf. GS 65 and 66) and to realise the
influence that emigration has on life. The Council reaffirmed the right to
emigrate (cf. GS 65)17, the
dignity of migrants (cf. GS 66), the need to overcome inequalities in
economic and social development (cf. GS 63) and to provide an answer to
the authentic needs of the human person (cf. GS 84). On the other hand
the Council recognised the right of the public authorities, in a particular
context, to regulate the flow of migration (cf. GS 87).
The Council stated that the People of God must assure its generous contribution
to the reality of emigration. It called upon the laity in particular to extend
their collaboration to all sectors of society (cf. AA 10) and thus be a
“neighbour” for the migrant (cf. GS 27). The Council Fathers showed
special interest in those faithful who “on account of their way of life, cannot
sufficiently make use of the common and ordinary pastoral care of parish priests
or are quite cut off from it. Among this group are the majority of migrants,
exiles and refugees, seafarers, air-travellers, gypsies, and others of this
kind. Suitable pastoral methods – they went on – should also be promoted to
sustain the spiritual life of those who go to other lands for a time for the
sake of recreation. Episcopal conferences, especially national ones, – they
finally urged – should pay special attention to the very pressing problems
concerning the above-mentioned groups. Through voluntary agreement and united
efforts, they should look to and promote their spiritual care by means of
suitable methods and institutions. They should also bear in mind the special
rules either already laid down or to be laid down by the Apostolic See which can
be wisely adapted to the circumstances of time, place, and persons”18.
22. The Second Vatican Council therefore marked a decisive moment for the
pastoral care of migrants and itinerant persons, attributing particular
importance to the meaning of mobility and catholicity and that of particular
Churches, to the sense of parish, and to the vision of the Church as mystery of
communion. Thus the Church stands out as “a people that derives its union from
the unity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit” (LG 4) and presents
itself as such.
Welcoming the stranger, a characteristic of the early Church, thus remains a
permanent feature of the Church of God. It is practically marked by the vocation
to be in exile, in diaspora, dispersed among cultures and ethnic groups without
ever identifying itself completely with any of these. Otherwise it would cease
to be the first-fruit and sign, the leaven and prophecy of the universal Kingdom
and community that welcomes every human being without preference for persons or
peoples. Welcoming the stranger is thus intrinsic to the nature of the Church
itself and bears witness to its fidelity to the gospel19.
23. Continuing the Council’s teaching and implementing it, Pope Paul VI issued
his Motu proprio Pastoralis Migratorum Cura20
(1969), promulgating the Instruction De Pastorali Migratorum Cura21.
Then, in 1978, the Pontifical Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migration and
Tourism, the organism then responsible for the care of migrants, addressed a
circular letter to the Episcopal Conferences entitled The Church and Human
Mobility22, which gave an
up-to-date account of migration at that time, offering a clear interpretation
and indicating pastoral applications. The document went into the topic of the
welcome of migrants by the local Church and stressed the need for
intra-ecclesial collaboration so as to ensure pastoral care without frontiers.
Finally the document recognised and drew attention to the specific role of the
lay faithful and of men and women religious.
24. The new Code of Canon Law for the Latin Church, in confirmation and
application of the Council’s wishes, requests parish priests to be especially
attentive towards persons who are far from their own country (Can. 529, §1) and
stresses the desirability and obligation whenever possible of arranging specific
pastoral care for them (Can. 568). Like the Code of Canons for the Eastern
Churches, it envisages the establishment of personal parishes (CIC Can.
518 and CCEO Can. 280, §1) as well as missions for the spiritual care of
the faithful (Can. 516) and even the creation of specific pastoral figures such
as episcopal vicars (Can. 476) and chaplains for migrants (Can. 568).
Again to implement the Council’s recommendations (cf. PO 10; AG 20, note 4; AG 27, note 28), the new Code also
foresees the institution of other specific pastoral structures as provided for
in the legislation and practice of the Church23.
25. The faithful of the Eastern Catholic Churches from Asia and the Middle East
and from Central and Eastern Europe are now moving into western countries in
large numbers. This obviously raises the question of their pastoral care, which
always falls under the decisive responsibility of the Ordinary of the place
where they are received. It is therefore an urgent matter to examine the
pastoral and juridical consequences of the growing number of these faithful
living outside their traditional territories and of the contacts being
established officially or privately at various levels, both between communities
as such and between single members of communities. The norms and regulations for
this, which enable the Catholic Church to breathe already with two lungs24
so to speak, is found in the CCEO25.
26. The aforementioned Code provides for the constitution of Churches sui
iuris (CCEO Can. 27, 28 and 148), calls for the promotion and
observance of the “rites of the Eastern Churches as patrimony of the universal
Church of Christ” (Can. 39; cf. also Can. 40 and 41) and establishes precise
norms concerning liturgical and disciplinary laws (Can. 150). The Code also lays
the obligation on the eparch to attend to the Christian faithful “of whatever
age, condition, nation or Church sui iuris they may be, whether they are
permanently or only temporarily resident in the eparchy” (Can. 192, §1) and to
ensure that the Christian faithful of another Church sui iuris entrusted
to his care “preserve the rite of their own Church” (Can. 193, §1) if possible
“by the ministry of presbyters and parish priests of the same Church sui
iuris (Can. 193, §2). Finally the Code recommends that the parish should be
territorial but without excluding personal parishes if required by circumstances
(cf. Can. 280, §1).
The Code of Canons for the Eastern Churches also provides for the possible
establishment of an exarchate, defined as “a portion of the people of God which,
for special circumstances, is not erected as an eparchy and which, limited to a
certain territory or determined by other criteria, is entrusted to the pastoral
care of the Exarch” (CCEO Can. 311, §1).
Pastoral lines of the Magisterium
27. Not only the canonical norms, but also a careful study of the documents and
directives on migration so far issued by the Church clearly brings to light
certain important theological and pastoral findings that have been acquired.
These are: the central position of the human person and the defence of the
rights of migrants, both men and women, and their children; the ecclesial and
missionary dimension of migration; the reappraisal of the apostolate of the
laity; the value of cultures in the work of evangelisation; the protection and
appreciation of minority groups in the Church; the importance of dialogue both
inside and outside the Church; and the specific contribution of emigration to
world peace. These documents also illustrate the pastoral dimension of work for
migrants. In fact all should find “their homeland”26
in the Church, for the Church is the mystery of God among men, the mystery of
love shown by the Only-Begotten Son, especially in His death and resurrection,
so that all “may have life, and have it to the full” (Jn 10,10), so that
all may find strength to overcome every division and act in such a way that
differences do not lead to rifts but communion by welcoming others in their
28. In the Church the role played by the Institutes of Consecrated Life and
Societies of Apostolic Life has been positively appraised in their specific
contribution to the pastoral care of migrants27.
The responsibility of diocesan bishops in this regard is unequivocally
reaffirmed, both for the Church of origin and the Church of arrival. In such
responsibility the Episcopal Conferences of the various countries and the
corresponding structures in the Eastern Churches are also involved. Pastoral
care of migrants means welcome, respect, protection, promotion and genuine love
of every person in his or her religious and cultural expressions.
29. Recent Pontifical declarations too, have emphasised and widened horizons and
pastoral perspectives with regard to migration, in the line of man as the way
of the Church28. Since the
pontificate of Pope Paul VI and later in that of Pope John Paul II, especially
in the Messages for the World Days of Migrants and Refugees29,
repeated affirmation is made of the fundamental rights of the person, in
particular the right to emigrate so that the individual can turn his abilities,
aspirations and projects to better account30.
(This is stated, however, in the same context with the right of every country to
pursue an immigration policy that promotes the common good.) Also the right of
the individual not to emigrate is affirmed, that is, the right to be able to
achieve his rights and satisfy his legitimate demands in his own country31.
The Magisterium has likewise always denounced social and economic imbalances
that are, for the most part, the cause of migration, the dangers of an
uncontrolled globalisation in which migrants are more the victims than the
protagonists of their migration, and the serious problem of irregular
immigration, especially when the migrant is an object of trafficking and
exploitation by criminal organisations32.
30. The Magisterium has also insisted on the need of policies that effectively
guarantee the rights of all migrants, “carefully avoiding every possible
discrimination”33. It emphasizes a
vast range of values and behaviour (hospitality, solidarity, sharing) and the
need to reject all sentiments and manifestations of xenophobia and racism on the
part of host communities34. In the
context of both the legislation and administrative practices of various
countries, it dedicates much attention to the unity of the family and the
protection of minors, which is often put in danger by migration35,
as well as to the formation of multicultural societies through migration.
Cultural plurality thus invites contemporary man to practise dialogue and also
face basic questions such as the meaning of life and history, suffering and
poverty, hunger, sickness and death. Openness to different cultural identities
does not, however, mean accepting them all indiscriminately, but rather
respecting them – because they are inherent in people – and, if possible,
appreciating them in their diversity. The “relativity” of cultures was also
stressed by the Second Vatican Council (cf. GS 54, 55, 56, 58). Plurality
is a treasure, and dialogue is the as yet imperfect and ever evolving
realization of that final unity to which humanity aspires and is called.
Entities of the Holy See
31. The Church’s constant concern for the religious, social and cultural care of
migrants manifested by the Magisterium is likewise shown by the special entities
established by the Holy See for this purpose.
The original inspiration behind them is to be found in the memorandum Pro
emigratis catholicis of Blessed Giovanni Battista Scalabrini who, aware of
the difficulties that various European nationalist tendencies stirred up abroad,
proposed to the Holy See a Pontifical Congregation (or Commission) for all
Catholic emigrants. This Commission should be composed of representatives of
different nations for the purpose of “spiritual assistance of emigrants in
varied circumstances and in various stages of the phenomemon, especially in the
Americas, to thus keep the Catholic faith alive in their hearts”36.
Little by little his intuition took shape. In 1912, following the reform of the
Roman Curia by Pope St Pius X, the first Office for Migration Problems was set
up within the Consistorial Congregation, while in 1970 Pope Paul VI instituted
the Pontifical Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migration and Tourism, which,
in 1988, with the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus, became the
Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People. It
was entrusted with the care of all who have been forced to abandon their
homeland, as well as those who have none (refugees and exiles), migrants, nomads
and circus people, seafarers both aboard ship and in port, all who are away from
home and those working in airports or on airplanes37.
32. It is therefore the task of the Pontifical Council to stimulate, promote and
animate opportune pastoral initiatives in favour of those who by choice or
through necessity leave their normal place of residence, as well as to carefully
follow the social, economic and cultural questions that are usually at the
origin of such movements.
The Pontifical Council directly addresses Episcopal Conferences and their
respective Councils, the corresponding episcopal structures in the Eastern
Catholic Churches concerned, and also individual bishops and hierarchs. While
respecting the responsibility of each one, it urges them to implement a specific
pastoral care for persons involved in the ever growing phenomenon of human
mobility and to adopt suitable provisions as called for by the changing
In recent times the aspect of migration has become part of ecumenical relations
too. As a result contacts with other Churches and Ecclesial Communities
increase. From this perspective, attention is also given to inter-religious
dialogue. Finally the Pontifical Council, through its superiors and officials,
is at times present in the international arena, representing the Holy See at
meetings of multilateral organisations.
33. Among the principal Catholic organisations for assistance of migrants and
refugees, we cannot fail to mention the International Catholic Migration
Commission established in 1951. It has great merit for the help it provided in
its first fifty years to governments and international organisations, in a
Christian spirit, and for its own original contribution in the search for
lasting solutions for migrants and refugees all over the world. The service
rendered by the Commission in the past and still done today “is bound by a
two-fold fidelity: to Christ … and to the Church”, as stated by Pope John Paul
II38, and its work “has been a
fruitful point of ecumenical and interreligious cooperation”39.
Nor, finally, must we forget the important commitment of the various Caritas
organisations and other similar organisms of charity and solidarity in the
service of migrants and refugees.
Migrants and the Pastoral Care of Welcome
Inculturation, cultural and religious pluralism
34. The Church, sacrament of unity, overcomes ideological or racial barriers and
divisions and proclaims to all people and all cultures the need to strive for
the truth in the perspective of correctly facing differences by dialogue and
mutual acceptance. Different cultural identities are thus to open up to a
universal way of understanding, not abandoning their own positive elements but
putting them at the service of the whole of humanity. While this logic engages
every particular Church, it highlights and reveals that unity in diversity that
is contemplated in the Trinity, which, for its part, refers the communion of all
to the fullness of the personal life of each one.
The cultural situation today, global and dynamic as it is, calls for the
incarnation of the one faith in many cultures and thus represents an
unprecedented challenge, a true kairòs for the whole People of God (cf.
35. We are therefore face to face with a cultural and religious pluralism never
perhaps experienced so consciously before. On the one hand, rapid progress is
being made towards a world-wide openness, facilitated by technological means and
the media, with the result that cultural and religious backgrounds,
traditionally different and foreign to one another, are being brought into
contact and even mingled with one another. On the other, fresh demands for a
local identity emerge, which consider the cultural traits of each individual the
means for self-realisation.
36. This fluidity of cultures makes “inculturation” even more indispensable, as
it is not possible to evangelise without entering into serious dialogue with
cultures. Together with peoples of different roots, other values and models of
life are knocking at our doors. While each culture tends to interpret the gospel
in terms of its own way of life, it is the task of the Magisterium of the Church
to guide these attempts and judge their validity.
“Inculturation” begins by listening, which means getting to know those to whom
we proclaim the gospel. Listening and knowing lead to a more adequate
discernment of the values and “countervalues” of their cultures in the light of
the Paschal Mystery of death and life. Tolerance is not enough; needed is a
certain feeling for the other, respect as far as possible for the cultural
identity of one’s dialogue partners. To recognise and appreciate their positive
aspects, which prepare them to accept the gospel, is a necessary prelude to its
successful proclamation. This is the only way to create dialogue, understanding
and trust. Keeping our eyes on the gospel thus means attention to people too, to
their dignity and freedom. Helping them advance integrally requires a commitment
to fraternity, solidarity, service and justice. The love of God, while it gives
humankind the truth and shows everyone his highest vocation, also promotes his
dignity and gives birth to community, based on the gospel proclamation being
welcomed, interiorised, celebrated and lived40.
The Church of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council
37. In the vision of the Second Vatican Council there are three fundamental ways
in which the Church carries out its pastoral ministry:
§ Being communion, the Church values the legitimate specific
characteristics of Catholic communities, joining them together with a universal
vision. In fact the unity of Pentecost does not abolish the various languages
and cultures but recognises them in their identities, at the same time opening
them to other realities through the universal love at work in them. The one
Catholic Church is thus constituted by and in the particular
Churches, just as the particular Churches are constituted in and by
the universal Church (cf. LG 13)41.
§ Being missionary, the Church’s ministry is outward looking,
passing on its own treasures to others and being enriched with new gifts and
values. This missionary quality is at work inside each particular Church because
mission is, in the first place, radiating the glory of God, and the Church needs
“to hear the proclamation of the ‘mighty works of God’ … to be called together
afresh by Him and reunited” (EN 15).
§ Being the People and family of God, mystery, sacrament, Mystical Body and Temple of the Spirit, the Church becomes the history of a people on the move. Its starting point is
the mystery of Christ and the vicissitudes of the individual and groups of which
it is composed, and from this it is called to fashion a new history, gift of God
and fruit of human freedom. In the Church, therefore, migrants too are called to
be protagonists of this, together with all the People of God as pilgrim on earth
(cf. RMi 32, 49 and 71).
38. From a concrete point of view the specific pastoral choices to be taken for
the welcome of migrants can be delineated as follows:
§ pastoral care of a particular ethnic or ritual group, aimed at promoting a
genuinely Catholic spirit (cf. LG 13);
§ need to safeguard universality and unity, which cannot, however, clash at the
same time with the specific pastoral care that, if possible, entrusts migrants
to presbyters of the same language, of their own Church sui iuris, or to
presbyters who are close to them from a linguistic and cultural point of view
(cf. DPMC 11);
§ great importance of the migrants’ mother tongue, in which they express their
mentality, thought and culture, and the characteristics of their spiritual life
and the traditions of their Church of origin (cf. DPMC 11).
This specific pastoral work operates in the context of a phenomenon which, by
bringing together persons of different nationalities, ethnic origins and
religions into contact, contributes to making the true face of the Church
visible (cf. GS 92) and brings out the value of migrations from the point
of view of ecumenism and missionary work and dialogue42.
In fact it is also through migration that God’s saving plan will be effected
(cf. Acts 11, 19-21)43. To
this end it is necessary to deepen the Christian life of migrants, which should
be brought to maturity by means of an evangelizing and catechising type of
apostolate (cf. CD 13-14 and DPMC 4).
This missionary-dialogical task pertains to all members of the mystical Body,
which migrants themselves must carry out in the threefold function of Christ as
Prophet, Priest and King. It will thus be necessary to build up the Church and
make it grow in and with the migrants, to rediscover together and
reveal Christian values and form an authentic sacramental community of faith,
worship, love44 and hope.
The particular situation of chaplains, missionaries and lay pastoral workers
with regard to the hierarchy and the local clergy means that they must be well
aware of the necessity to carry out their ministry in close union with the
diocesan bishop, or with the hierarch, and his clergy (cf. CD 28-29;
AA 10 and PO 7). Moreover the difficulty and importance of achieving certain aims both
on the individual and the community level will act as a stimulus for migrants’
chaplains and missionaries to seek the broadestpossible and correct
collaboration of both men and women religious (cf. DPMC 52-55) and of the
lay faithful (cf. DPMC 56-61)45.
Welcome and solidarity
39. Migration therefore touches the religious dimension of man too and offers
Catholic migrants a privileged though often painful opportunity to reach a sense
of belonging to the universal Church which goes beyond any local particularity.
To this end it is important that communities do not think that they have
completed their duty to migrants simply by performing acts of fraternal
assistance or even by supporting legislation aimed at giving them their due
place in society while respecting their identity as foreigners. Christians must
in fact promote an authentic culture of welcome (cf. EEu 101 and
103) capable of accepting the truly human values of the immigrants over and
above any difficulties caused by living together with persons who are different
(cf. EEu 85, 112 and PaG 65).
40. Christians will accomplish all this by means of a truly fraternal welcome in
the sense of St Paul’s admonition, “Welcome one another then, as Christ welcomed
you, for the glory of God” (Rm 15:7)46.
Certainly the appeal alone, however nobly inspired and heartfelt, does not
provide an automatic and practical reply to the pressing issues of every day. It
does not, for example, eliminate a widespread fear or feeling of insecurity in
people, neither does it guarantee due respect for legality nor safeguard the
integrity of the host community. But a genuinely Christian spirit will give the
right approach and courage to face these problems and suggest the practical
means by which we are called to resolve them in the day-to-day life of our
Christian communities (cf. EEu 85 and 111).
41. For this reason the entire Church in the host country must feel concerned
and engaged regarding immigrants. This means that local Churches must rethink
pastoral care, programming it to help the faithful live their faith
authentically in today’s new multicultural and pluri-religious context47.
With the help of social and pastoral workers, the local population should be
made aware of the complex problems of migration and the need to oppose baseless
suspicions and offensive prejudices against foreigners.
In religious instruction and catechesis suitable means must be found to create
in the Christian conscience a sense of welcome, especially for the poorest and
outcasts as migrants often are. This welcome is fully based on love for Christ,
in the certainty that good done out of love of God to one’s neighbour,
especially the most needy, is done to Him. This catechesis cannot avoid
referring to the serious problems that precede and accompany migration, such as
the demographic question, work and working conditions (illegal work), the care
of the numerous elderly persons, criminality, the exploitation of migrants and
trafficking and smuggling of human beings.
42. In welcoming migrants it is of course useful and correct to distinguish
between assistance in a general sense (a first, short-term welcome), true
welcome in the full sense (longer-term projects) and integration
(an aim to be pursued constantly over a long period and in the true sense of the
Pastoral workers with competence in cultural mediation – and our Catholic
communities too should ensure that they have such people – are called upon to
help bridge the legitimate requirements of order, legality and social security
with the Christian vocation to welcome others with practical expressions of
love. It will also be important to ensure that all realise the benefits – not
only economic – that industrialised countries derive from a regulated inflow of
immigrants and at the same time become more and more aware that their need for
manpower is being answered by human beings: men, women and whole families with
children and elderly persons.
43. Nevertheless assistance or “first welcome” are of the greatest importance
(let us think, for example, of migrants’ hospitality centres, especially in
transit countries) in response to the emergencies that come with migrations:
canteens, dormitories, clinics, economic aid, reception centres. But also
important are acts of welcome in its full sense, which aim at the progressive
integration and self-sufficiency of the immigrant. Let us remember in particular
the commitment undertaken for family unification, education of children,
housing, work, associations, promotion of civil rights and migrants’ various
ways of participation in their host society. Religious, social, charitable and
cultural associations of Christian inspiration should also make efforts to
involve immigrants themselves in their structures.
Liturgy and popular piety
44. The ecclesiological foundation of the pastoral care of migrants will also
help give shape to a liturgy that is more sensitive to the historical and
anthropological aspects of migration, so that liturgical celebrations become a
living expression of communities of believers who walk hic et nunc on the
ways of salvation.
This raises the question of the relation of liturgy with the character,
tradition and genius of different cultural groups and how to respond to the
particular social and cultural situation of such groups by pastoral care that
should consider their specific liturgical formation and ways of making liturgy
more lively (cf. SC 23) and also promote the wider participation of the
faithful in the particular Church (cf. EEu 69-72 and 78-80).
45. Owing also to the shortage of their numbers, presbyters should make the most
of the lay faithful in non-ordained ministries. Where no presbyters are
available, the possibility should be considered of organising so-called Sunday
assemblies without a presbyter in immigrant communities too (cf. CIC Can.
1248, §2), where prayers are said, the Word proclaimed and the Eucharist
distributed (cf. PaG 37) under the direction of a deacon or of a
layperson duly authorised for this48.
The shortage of priests for migrants can be partly remedied by entrusting
certain activities in the parish to suitably prepared laymen in conformity with
the CIC (cf. Can. 228, §1; 230, §3 and 517, §2).
In all this the general norms will be observed as laid down by the Holy See and
recalled in the Apostolic Letter Dies Domini, which states: “When it is
impossible to celebrate the Eucharist, the Church recommends the holding of
Sunday assemblies in the absence of a priest in accordance with the indications
and directives of the Holy See whose application is entrusted to the Episcopal
In this connection, presbyters will do all they can to make the People of God
aware of the need in every particular Church of authentic vocations to the
priesthood and to promote intense vocation ministry in this regard among
immigrants too (EEu 31-32 and PaG 53-54).
46. Popular piety, too, deserves particular attention50
as it is characteristic of many migrant communities. Besides recognising that
“when it is well oriented, above all by a pedagogy of evangelisation, it is rich
in values” (EN 48), we must also bear in mind that for many migrants it
is a fundamental link with their Church of origin and with their ways of
understanding and living the faith. Here it is a question of putting into action
an in-depth work of evangelisation and of enabling the local Catholic community
to know and appreciate certain forms of devotion of migrants and thus to
understand them. From this union of spirit a more participated liturgy can also
develop, one that is better integrated and spiritually richer.
The same may be said concerning links with the various Eastern Catholic
Churches. The sacred liturgy celebrated in the rite of their own Church sui
iuris is important as a safeguard of the spiritual identity of Catholic
migrants of the East as is also the use of their languages in religious worship51.
47. Pastoral care has furthermore to give ample space, always in a liturgical
perspective, for the particular condition of life of migrants, to the family,
the “household Church”, to common prayer, to family Bible groups, and to the
family’s response to the liturgical year (cf. EEu 78). The family
blessings proposed in the Book of Blessings also deserve due attention52.
Today we are also witnessing a renewed commitment to involve families in
preparing for the reception of the sacraments, which can bring fresh vitality to
Christian communities. Through this, in fact, many young persons (cf. PaG
53) and adults are rediscovering the meaning and the value of ways that help
give new strength to their faith and Christian life.
48. A particular danger to the faith comes from today’s religious pluralism, in
the sense of relativism and syncretism in religious matters. To combat this
danger it is necessary to prepare new pastoral initiatives that are capable of
confronting this phenomenon which, together with the proliferation of sects53,
is one of the most serious pastoral problems of today.
49. With regard to Catholic migrants the Church makes provision for a specific
kind of pastoral care because of diversity of language, origin, culture,
ethnicity and tradition, or of belonging to a particular Church sui iuris
with its own rite. In fact, these factors often hinder a full and speedy
insertion of immigrants into local territorial parishes, or it may be necessary
to bear them in mind with the prospect of erecting parishes or a hierarchy for
the faithful belonging to particular Churches sui iuris. The uprooting
that moving abroad inevitably involves (from country of origin, family, language
etc.) should not be made worse by uprooting the migrant from his religious rite
or identity too.
50. When groups of immigrants are particularly numerous and homogeneous
therefore, they are encouraged to keep up their specific Catholic traditions. In
particular, efforts must be made to provide organised religious assistance by
priests of the language, culture and rite of the migrants selecting the most
suitable juridical option from among those foreseen by the CIC and the
In any case it is not possible to over-emphasise the need for the closest
communion between language-based missions and territorial parishes. It is also
important to work for mutual knowledge, making use of all opportunities offered
by ordinary pastoral work also to involve immigrants in the life of the parishes
(cf. EEu 28).
In case immigrants are too few in number for a specific organised religious
assistance, the particular Church where they have arrived should help them
overcome the problems caused by uprooting from their community of origin and the
serious difficulties of finding their place in their new one. Where immigrants
are not significant in number, catechism and liturgical formation by religious
and lay pastoral workers in close collaboration with chaplains/missionaries will
prove to be particularly valuable (cf. EEu 51, 73 and also PaG
51. Mention should also be made of the need to provide specific pastoral
assistance for technicians, professional workers and foreign students
temporarily resident in countries where the majority of the population is Muslim
or of another faith. If left to themselves without any spiritual guide, these
temporary migrants, instead of bearing Christian witness, may be the cause of
erroneous judgments about Christianity. In saying this, we fully acknowledge the
beneficial influence of thousands and thousands of Christians who do bear
faithful witness in these countries, or of the return to their original homes,
where Christians are in the minority, by former migrants of other religions who
have been living in dominantly Catholic regions.
Eastern Rite Catholic migrants
52. Eastern Rite Catholic migrants, whose numbers are steadily increasing,
deserve particular pastoral attention. In their regard we should first of all
remember the juridical obligation of the faithful to observe their own rite
everywhere insofar as possible, rite being understood as their liturgical,
theological, spiritual and disciplinary heritage (cf. CCEO Can. 28, §1
and PaG 72).
This means that “even though entrusted to the care of a hierarch or pastor of
another Church sui iuris, they still remain inscribed as members of their
own Church sui iuris” (CCEO Can. 38). Indeed even a prolonged
practice of receiving the sacraments according to the rite of another Church
sui iuris does not mean that they become members of that Church (cf. CIC
Can. 112, §2). It is in fact forbidden “to change rites without the consent of
the Apostolic See” (cf. CCEO Can. 32 and CIC Can. 112, §1).
Notwithstanding their right and duty to observe their own rite Eastern Catholic
migrants also have the right to participate actively in the liturgical
celebrations of any other Church sui iuris, including the Latin Church,
in accordance with the prescriptions of its liturgical books (cf. CCEO
Can. 403, §1).
Moreover the hierarchy must take care that those who have frequent contacts with
the faithful of another rite should know that rite and respect it (cf. CCEO
Can. 41). It will also be vigilant that no one should feel restricted in his
freedom because of language or rite (cf. CCEO Can. 588).
53. In this line the Second Vatican Council (CD 23) decreed: “Where there
are faithful of a different rite, the diocesan bishop should provide for their
spiritual needs either through priests or parishes of that rite or through an
episcopal vicar endowed with the necessary faculties. Wherever it is fitting,
the last named should also have episcopal rank. Otherwise the Ordinary himself
may perform the office of an Ordinary of different rites”. Moreover “one or more
episcopal vicars can be named by the bishop. These automatically enjoy the same
authority which the common law grants the vicar general … for the faithful of a
determined rite” (CD 27).
54. In conformity with the Council’s decree, the CIC (Can. 383, §2) lays
down that if the diocesan bishop “has faithful of a different rite in his
diocese, he is to provide for their spiritual needs either through priests or
parishes of the same rite or through an episcopal vicar”. The latter, in
accordance with Can. 476 of the CIC, “posses[es] the same ordinary power
which a vicar general has by universal law” regarding his relation with the
faithful of a particular rite. After enunciating the principle of the
territorial nature of a parish, the CIC (Can. 518) lays down in fact that
“when it is expedient personal parishes are to be established, determined by
reason of the rite”.
55. Whenever this is done, these parishes will juridically form an integral part
of the Latin diocese, and the parish priests of the aforementioned rite will be
members of the diocesan presbyterate of the Latin bishop. It should, however, be
noted that although in the hypothesis foreseen in the above mentioned canons
these faithful are living within the jurisdiction of the Latin bishop, it is
opportune that before instituting personal parishes for them or designating a
presbyter as assistant or parish priest or indeed episcopal vicar, the Latin
bishop should take up contact both with the Congregation for the Oriental
Churches and with the respective hierarchy, in particular with the Patriarch.
It should be recalled here that the CCEO (Can. 193, §3) lays down that
when eparchs “constitute this kind of presbyter or parish priest or syncelli for
the pastoral care of the Christians faithful of the patriarchal Churches”, they
should “take up contact with the relevant Patriarchs and, if they agree, should
then act on their own authority, informing the Apostolic See about this as soon
as possible; if, however, for any reason the Patriarchs do not agree, then the
matter must be referred to the Apostolic See”54.
Although there is no explicit regulation corresponding to this in the CIC,
it should nevertheless by analogy apply to Latin diocesan bishops too.
Migrants of other Churches and Ecclesial Communities
56. The growing number of Christian immigrants not in full communion with the
Catholic Church offers particular Churches new possibilities of living
ecumenical fraternity in practical day-to-day life and of achieving greater
reciprocal understanding between Churches and ecclesial communities, something
far from facile irenicism or proselytism. What is called for is a spirit of
apostolic charity that, on the one hand respects other people’s consciences and
recognises the good it discovers in them, but which can also wait for the moment
to become an instrument for a deeper encounter between Christ and a brother. The
Catholic faithful must not in fact forget that it is also a service and a sign
of great love to welcome our brothers into full communion with the Church. In
any case, however, “If priests, ministers or communities not in full communion
with the Catholic Church do not have a place or the liturgical objects needed
for celebrating worthily their religious ceremonies, the diocesan Bishop may
allow them to use a church or a Catholic building and also lend them whatever
may be necessary for their services. In similar circumstances permission may be
given them for interment or for celebration of services at Catholic cemeteries”55.
57. Another matter to be remembered is that in certain circumstances it is
legitimate for non-Catholics to receive the Eucharist together with Catholics,
as confirmed also by the recent encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia. Thus
“While it is never legitimate to concelebrate in the absence of full communion,
the same is not true with respect to the administration of the Eucharist under
special circumstances, to individual persons belonging to Churches or Ecclesial
Communities not in full communion with the Catholic Church. In this case, in
fact, the intention is to meet a grave spiritual need for the eternal salvation
of an individual believer, not to bring about an intercommunion which
remains impossible until the visible bonds of ecclesial communion are
fully re-established. This was the approach taken by the Second Vatican Council
when it gave guidelines for responding to Eastern Christians separated in good
faith from the Catholic Church, who spontaneously ask to receive the Eucharist
from a Catholic minister and are properly disposed [see OE 27]. This
approach was then ratified by both Codes, which also consider – with necessary
modifications – the case of other non-Eastern Christians who are not in full
communion with the Catholic Church (cf. CIC Can. 844, §§3-4 and CCEO
Can. 671, §§3-4)”56.
58. At all events, there is to be particular reciprocal respect for the
regulations of both sides as is made clear by the Directory for the
Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism: “Catholics ought to show a
sincere respect for the liturgical and sacramental discipline of other Churches
and ecclesial Communities, and these … are asked to show the same respect for
In the case of migrants, these provisions and the “ecumenism of daily life” (PaG
64) cannot fail to have beneficial effects. Particular moments for ecumenical
commitment could be the major liturgical feasts of the different denominations,
the traditional World Days of Prayer for Peace, of Migrants and Refugees and the
annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
Migrants of other religions, in general
59. Recent times have witnessed a growing increase in the presence of immigrants
of other religions in traditionally Christian countries. Various pronouncements
by the Magisterium, and in particular the encyclical Redemptoris Missio58
as also the Instruction Dialogue and Proclamation59,
provide clear guidance on this question.
In the case of non-Christian immigrants, the Church is also concerned with their
human development and with the witness of Christian charity, which itself has an
evangelising value that may open hearts for the explicit proclamation of the
gospel when this is done with due Christian prudence and full respect for the
freedom of the other. In any case the migrant of another religion should be
helped insofar as possible to preserve a transcendent view of life.
The Church is thus called upon to open a dialogue with these immigrants, and
this “dialogue should be conducted and implemented in the conviction that the
Church is the ordinary means of salvation and that she alone possesses the
fullness of the means of salvation” (RMi 55; cf. also PaG 68).
60. This requires Catholic communities receiving immigrants to appreciate their
own identity even more, prove their loyalty to Christ, know the contents of the
faith well, rediscover their missionary calling and thus commit themselves to
bear witness for Jesus the Lord and His gospel. This is the necessary
prerequisite for the correct attitude of sincere dialogue, open and respectful
of all but at the same time neither naivenor ill-equipped (cf. PaG 64 and
It is the Christians’ task in particular to help immigrants find their place in
the social and cultural context of their host country by accepting its civil
laws (PaG 72). Above all, however, Christians are called upon with the
witness of their lives to denounce certain negative aspects present in the rich
industrialised countries (materialism and consumerism, moral relativism and
religious indifferentism), which might shake the religious convictions of
We hope that this commitment with regard to immigrants will not just be
practised by individual Christians alone or by traditional aid organisations but
may also be included in the overall programmes of ecclesial movements and lay
associations of the faithful (cf. CfL 29).
Four matters calling for particular attention
61. To avoid misunderstandingsand confusion, and considering the religious
diversity that we mutually recognise, and out of respect for sacred places and
the religion of the other too, we do not consider it opportune for Christian
churches, chapels, places of worship or other places reserved for evangelisation
and pastoral work to be made available for members of non-Christian religions.
Still less should they be used to obtain recognition of demands made on the
public authorities. On the other hand spaces for social use, forfree-time
activities, games and relaxation and the like, could and should be opened to
persons of other religions, respecting the rules followed in these places. The
social contacts made there would be an opportunity to favour the integration of
the new arrivals and prepare cultural mediators capable of helping overcome
cultural and religious barriers by promoting adequate reciprocal knowledge.
62. Catholic schools (cf. EEu 59 and PaG 52) must not renounce
their own characteristics and Christian-oriented educational programmes when
immigrants’ children of another religion are accepted60.
Parents wishing to enrol their children should be clearly informed of this. At
the same time no pupil must be compelled to take part in a Catholic liturgy or
to perform actions contrary to his or her religious convictions.
Moreover religious instruction provided for in the school curriculum, if given
with a scholastic character, may be useful to help pupils learn about a faith
different from their own. In religious instruction, however, all must be
educated to respect persons of different religious convictions but relativism
must be avoided.
63. With regard to marriage between Catholics and non-Christian migrants, this
should be discouraged, though to a varying degree, depending on the religion of
each partner, with exceptions in special cases in accordance with the norms of
the CIC and CCEO. It should in fact be remembered that, in the
words of Pope John Paul II, “In families where both parents are Catholic, it is
easier for them to share their common faith with their children. While
acknowledging with gratitude interfaith marriages which succeeded in nourishing
the faith of both spouses and children, the Synod encourages pastoral efforts to
promote marriages between people of the same faith”61.
64. Finally, in relations between Christians and persons of other religions, the
principle of reciprocity is important. It is to be understood not merely as an
attitude for making claims but as a relationship based on mutual respect and on
justice in juridical and religious matters. Reciprocity is also an attitude of
heart and spirit that enables us to live together everywhere with equal rights
and duties. Healthy reciprocity will urge each one to become an “advocate” for
the rights of minorities when his or her own religious community is in the
majority. In this respect we should also recall the numerous Christian migrants
in lands where the majority of the population is not Christian and where the
right to religious freedom is severely restricted or repressed.
65. Today, especially in certain countries, there is a high or growing
percentage of Muslim immigrants, for whom this Pontifical Council also expresses
In this regard the Second Vatican Council indicates the attitude to be adopted
in the spirit of the gospel, calling for a purification of memory regarding past
misunderstandings, to cultivate common values and to clarify and respect
diversity, but without renouncing Christian principles62.
Catholic communities are therefore called upon to practise discernment. It is a
question of distinguishing between what can be and cannot be shared in the
religious doctrines and practices and in the moral laws of Islam.
66. Belief in God the Creator and the Merciful, daily prayer, fasting,
alms-giving, pilgrimage, asceticism to dominate the passions, and the fight
against injustice and oppression are common values to be found in Christianity
too, though they may be expressed or manifested in a different manner. Beside
these points of agreement there are, however, also divergences, some of which
have to do with legitimate acquisitions of modern life and thought. Thinking in
particular of human rights, we hope that there will be, on the part of our
Muslim brothers and sisters, a growing awareness that fundamental liberties, the
inviolable rights of the person, the equal dignity of man and woman, the
democratic principle of government and the healthy lay character of the State
are principles that cannot be surrendered. It will likewise be necessary to
reach harmony between the vision of faith and the just autonomy of creation63.
67. When, for example, a Catholic woman and a Muslim wish to marry, bearing in
mind what is stated in No. 63 and local pastoral judgements, bitter experience
teaches us that a particularly careful and in-depth preparation is called for.
During it the two fiancés will be helped to know and consciously “assume” the
profound cultural and religious differences they will have to face, both between
themselves and in relation to their respective families and the Muslim’s
original environment, to which they may possibly return after a period spent
If the marriage is registered with a consulate of the Islamic country of origin,
the Catholic party must beware of reciting or signing documents containing the
shahada (profession of the Muslim belief).
In any case, the marriage between a Catholic and a Muslim, if celebrated in
spite of all this, requires not only canonical dispensation but also the support
of the Catholic community both before and after the marriage. One of the most
important tasks of Catholic associations, volunteer workers and counselling
serviceswill be to help these families educate their children and, if need be,
to support the least protected member of the Muslim family, that is, the woman,
to know and insist on her rights.
68. Finally as regards the baptism of the children, it is well known that the
norms of the two religions are in stark contrast. The problem must therefore be
raised with absolute clarity during the preparation for marriage, and the
Catholic party must take a firm stand on what the Church requires. Conversion
and the request for baptism by adult Muslims also require very careful
attention, both because of the particular nature of the Muslim religion and the
consequences that follow from this.
69. Societies today are more and more mixed as regards religion owing in part to
migration. They thus require of Catholics a convinced willingness for true
interreligious dialogue (cf. PaG 68). To this end both the ordinary
Catholic faithful and pastoral workers in local Churches should receive solid
formation and information on other religions so as to overcome prejudices,
prevail over religious relativism and avoid unjustified suspicions and fears
that hamper dialogue and erect barriers, even provoking violence or
misunderstanding. Local Churches will take care to include such formation in the
educational programmes of their seminaries, schools and parishes.
Dialogue among different religions must not, however, be understood as just
looking for points in common so as to build peace together but above all as an
occasion to rediscover convictions shared in each community. These include
prayer, fasting, man’s fundamental vocation, openness to the Transcendent, the
adoration of God and solidarity between nations64.
Nevertheless we ourselves must never renounce the proclamation – either explicit
or implicit, according to circumstances – of salvation in Christ, the only
Mediator between God and man. The whole work of the Church moves in this
direction in such a way that neither fraternal dialogue nor the exchange and
sharing of “human” values can diminish the Church’s commitment to evangelisation
(cf. RMi 10-11 and PaG 30).
Workers in a Pastoral Care of Communion
In the home and the host Churches
70. To ensure that the pastoral care of migrants may be one of communion (that
is, born from an ecclesiology of communion and serving a spirituality of
communion), it is essential that the Churches of departure and arrival establish
an intense collaboration with one another. This begins first in the reciprocal
exchange of information on matters of common pastoral interest. It is
unthinkable that these Churches should fail to dialogue with one another and
systematically discuss, evenin periodic meetings, problems concerning thousands
of migrants. Then for the better co-ordination of all pastoral activity in
favour of immigrants, Episcopal Conferences should entrust it to a special
Commission, with the appointment of a National Director to animate the
corresponding diocesan commissions. When it is not possible to set up such a
Commission, a Bishop Promoter should at least be entrusted with the
co-ordination of the pastoral care of migrants. In this way spiritual assistance
for persons far from their home country will appear as a clear ecclesial
commitment, a pastoral task that cannot simply be left to the generosity of
individuals, presbyters, religious men or women, or lay faithful, but sustained,
even materially, by the local Churches (cf. also PaG 45).
71. Episcopal Conferences will likewise entrust to Catholic university faculties
in their territories the task of studying the various aspects of migration more
thoroughly for the benefit of concrete pastoral service for migrants. Compulsory
courses of theological specialisation could also be programmed for this purpose.
In seminaries too, formation cannot now fail to take into account the world-wide
phenomenon of migration. “Seminaries and Institutes of Higher Studies, in
adapting their own curricula and methods, will enable their students to become
acquainted with the various types of emigration (permanent or seasonal,
international or internal), the reasons for which people move, the consequences
of such mobility, the general outlines for adequate pastoral care in this field,
the Pontifical Documents on the subject and also those of the local Churches”65.
In any event “the Quaderni universitari of the Pontifical Council [then
Commission] for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People and its
magazine ‘[People] on the move’, together with other documents of the
Magisterium published recently, will prove useful when initiating the teaching
Finally the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Pastores dabo vobis,
explicitly requires that the pastoral experience of seminarians should also be
orientated towards nomads and migrants67.
72. The celebration of the World Day (or Week) of Migrants and Refugees will
also be the occasion for a growing sense of urgency in commitment and for paying
zealous attention to the specific topic proposed each year by the Supreme
Pontiff in his Message. This Pontifical Council proposes that this day should be
celebrated everywhere on one fixed date so as to help all to live together – at
one and the same time – in the sight of God a day of prayer, action and
sacrifice for the cause of migrants and refugees.
In addition to the World Day, an annual meeting of the bishop/eparch, possibly
in his Cathedral, with all the ethnic groups present in the diocese/eparchy
could prove to be of great significance. In some places where this event is
already held, it is known as the “festival of peoples”.
The national co-ordinator for chaplains/missionaries
73. Among the pastoral workers in the service of the migrant, the National
Co-ordinator is particularly important. He is meant to be a help more for the
chaplains/missionaries of a certain language or country than for the migrants
themselves. Likewise he is an expression of the Church ad quam in favour
of the chaplains/missionaries themselves though he is not considered to be their
representative. He is at the service of the chaplains/missionaries who receive
the “declaration of suitability” – that is the rescript given by the Episcopal
Conference a qua (cf. DPMC 36, 2) – in countries with a large
number of immigrants coming from the same nation.
74. The activity of the National Co-ordinator towards the chaplains/missionaries
is to exercise fraternal vigilance, to moderate and to act as a link between the
various communities. He has no direct competence, however, over the migrants
who, by reason of their domicile or semi-domicile, are subject to the
jurisdiction of the ordinaries or hierarchs of the particular Churches or
eparchies. He does not have jurisdiction over the chaplains/missionaries who,
regarding the faculties and exercise of their ministry, are subject to the local
ordinary, from whom they receive the relative faculties. The National
Co-ordinator must therefore work in close contact with the national and diocesan
directors of pastoral work for migrants.
The migrants’ chaplain/missionary
75. On the basis of previous Church documents dealing with this subject68,
we would here stress above all the necessity of special preparation for specific
pastoral work among migrants (cf. PaG 72), which entails an authentically
missionary dimension and is eminently spiritual in purpose. Such a preparation
is carried out in communion with and under the responsibility also of the local
ordinary/hierarch of the country of origin.
76. In this connection it is to be noted that “the complexity and continuing
evolution which are to be observed in the phenomenon of people on the move make
necessary, in order to give direction and purpose to the pastoral activity, the
work of complementary institutions, designed to keep track of this phenomenon
and aim atan objective evaluation of it. This means pastoral centres for ethnic
groups but above all interdisciplinary study centres, that is, ones which would
collate the material necessary for the working out and putting into practise a
pastoral strategy” (CMU 40). This research should also be useful as a
guide for studies in seminaries, institutes of formation and pastoral centres
and should be directly utilisable for the preparation of pastoral workers
dealing with migration.
77. To be a chaplain/missionary for migrants eiusdem sermonis (of the
same language) does not, however, mean to remain prisoner to one exclusive,
national way of living and expressing the faith. If on the one hand we must
emphasise the need for specific pastoral care based on the necessity to transmit
the Christian message by cultural means that correspond to the formation and
legitimate needs of the persons it is aimed at, on the other it is equally
important to reaffirm that such specific pastoral care also requires openness to
a new world and a sincere effort to find one’s place in it, the final goal being
the full participation of the migrants in the life of the diocese. In this
process the chaplain/missionary must be a bridge, linking the community of
migrants to the host community. He is with them to build the Church, in
communion first of all with the diocesan bishop/eparch and with his brothers in
the priesthood, in particular with the parish priests who have the same pastoral
work to perform (cf. DPMC 30, 3). To do this he needs to know and
appreciate the culture of the place where he is called to perform his ministry,
speak its language, be able to dialogue with the society he lives in and teach
esteem and respect for the host country, even to the point of loving and
defending it. So even though the migrants’ chaplain/missionary makes use of
ethnic or linguistic considerations as the basis in exercisinghis ministry, he
knows well that the pastoral care of migrants must also result in building up a
Church that aims at being ecumenical and missionary (cf. RMi 10-11;
DPMC 30, 2).
78. Those responsible for pastoral work among migrants should thus have a
certain expertise in intercultural communication. The same also applies to those
responsible for pastoral care on the local level since those coming from abroad
cannot effect such cultural mediation on their own.
The principal tasks of the pastoral worker among immigrants are, above all,
· safeguarding the migrants’ ethnic, cultural, linguistic and ritual identity
since effective pastoral activity is unthinkable if it does not respect and
value their cultural heritage, which, however, must also be brought into
dialogue with the local Church and culture so as to respond to new demands;
· guidance along the way to authentic integration, avoiding a cultural ghetto and
at the same time opposing the pure and simple assimilation of migrants into the
· incarnating a missionary and evangelising spirit, by sharing the situation and
conditions of migrants, with the ability to adapt and make personal contacts in
an atmosphere of a clear witness of life.
Diocesan/eparchial presbyters as chaplains/missionaries
79. Chaplains/missionaries may be diocesan/eparchial presbyters (who normally
remain incardinated in their own diocese/eparchy and go abroad temporarily to
care for migrants) or religious presbyters. Both however, whether
diocesan/eparchial or religious, take on the same mission, though their initial
vocations may be different and complementary.
Diocesan/eparchial presbyters, exercising pastoral care in a diocese/eparchy
where they are not incardinated are nevertheless integrated into it so that they
form part of the diocesan/eparchial presbytery to all effects69.
The same applies to religious presbyters. It cannot therefore be too strongly
stressed that chaplains/missionaries remain united in fraternal harmony not only
with the local ordinary/eparch,but also with the diocesan/eparchial clergy,
especially with the parish priests. For that purpose, participation in priests’
meetings and those of the diocese/eparchy can be helpful, together with efforts
to be present in gatherings for study of social, moral, liturgical and pastoral
issues. These are a condition sine qua non for putting an authentic
pastoral care into practice with mutual co-operation, solidarity and
co-responsibility (cf. DPMC 42). It must also be an operative unity so as
to be effective between migrants and the local population too. This kind of
solidarity, in intention and in practice, will be an excellent example of
adaptation and collaboration, and in this way mutual knowledge and respect of
the cultural heritages of each one will be achieved.
Religious presbyters, brothers and sisters working among migrants
80. Religious presbyters, brothers and sisters have always played a primary role
in pastoral work for migrants, and the Church has shown and continues to show
great confidence in what they do. The Christian community recognises the
vocation to the religious life as a special gift of the Spirit, which the Church
welcomes, safeguards and interprets so as to make it grow and develop in
accordance with its own dynamism70.
The same Spirit in the course of history has also brought into being institutes
whose specific goal is the apostolate to migrants71,
each having its own organisation.
In this connection we feel duty-bound to remember the apostolate of religious
women, so often dedicated to the pastoral care of migrants, with specific
charisms and performing works of great pastoral importance. We would recall in
particular the words of the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Vita
consecrata: “Likewise the future of re-evangelisation, as of all other forms
of missionary activity, is unthinkable without a renewed contribution from
women, especially consecrated women” (no. 57). Also: “It is therefore urgently
necessary to take certain concrete steps, beginning by providing room for women
to participate in different fields and at all levels, including decision-making
processes, above all in matters which concern women themselves”72.
81. In addition to these religious institutes for the pastoral care of migrants,
there are also others which, although it is not their specific charism, are
cordially invited to take part in this responsibility. In fact “it will always
be opportune and praiseworthy for them to devote themselves to the spiritual
care of this category of the faithful, choosing especially those activities that
best correspond to their nature and aims” (DPMC 53, 2). This is the
practical application of one of the Council’s directives, because “in view of
the urgent need of souls and the scarcity of diocesan clergy, religious
communities which are not dedicated exclusively to the contemplative life can be
called upon by the bishops to assist in various pastoral ministries. They
should, however, keep in mind the particular character of each community.
Superiors should encourage this work to the utmost, by accepting parishes even
on a temporary basis” (CD 35).
82. But if all religious institutes are called upon to keep in mind human
mobility in their pastoral work, then they should give generous consideration to
the possibility of sending some of their own members, men or women, to work in
the field of migration. Many of them in fact could make an appreciable
contribution to the spiritual care of migrants because they have members with
different types of training, coming from various countries, whom it would be
relatively simple to transfer abroad.
It is particularly in the field of migration that the role attributed to
religious institutes in the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii nuntiandi
stands out clearly. In fact “by their lives they are sign of total availability
to God, the Church and the brethren. As such they have a special importance in
the context of the witness which … is of prime importance in evangelisation. At
the same time as being a challenge to the world and to the Church herself, this
silent witness of poverty and abnegation, of purity and sincerity, of
self-sacrifice in obedience, can become an eloquent witness capable of touching
also non-Christians who have good will and are sensitive to certain values” (EN
83. This need for pastoral attention is emphasised in the Instruction of 25th
March 1987, dealing with pastoral commitment for migrants and refugees,
published jointly by the Congregation for the Religious and Secular Institutes
and the Pontifical Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migration and Tourism and
addressed to all men and women superiors general. This appeal to religious
institutes for a particular commitment in favour of migrants and refugees is
deeply motivated by what could be described as an affinity between the intimate
expectations of these people, uprooted from their homelands, and the religious
life. Theirs are the expectations, often unexpressed, of the poor with no
prospect of security, of outcasts often mortified in their longing for
fraternity and communion. When offered by those who have voluntarily chosen to
live in poverty, chastity and obedience, this solidarity is not only a support
in their difficult situation but also a witness to values that can enkindle hope
in sad situations (cf. no. 8). Here, then, is an urgent invitation to all
institutes of consecrated life and to all societies of apostolic life to be
generous in widening the horizons of their work with a truly missionary
dimension, an appeal that should be considered especially by religious
congregations whose specific goal is missionary73.
84. There is no doubt that today many religious institutes are more and more
aware that the migration problem represents more or less a challenge to their
charisms. But so that this spiritual awareness and the appeals of the Church’s
magisterium may take on concrete form, we would suggest here to superiors
general that they collaborate generously with pastoral workers for migrants and
refugees by assigning some of their own members to work in this sector, backed
up by the solidarity and collaboration of the entire religious community.
Perhaps they might also make available for this work, either permanently or for
a certain period, some part of their buildings that would otherwise remain
We would further suggest that, in their circular letters to their members and in
their meetings, superiors should from time to time focus on the urgency of the
problem of migrants and refugees, drawing attention to Church documents and the
words of the Holy Father. They might also care to bring up this matter on the
occasion of general or provincial chapters and during courses of updating and
permanent formation. Future presbyters too should at least consider the
possibility of preparing themselves to exercise their ministry, or part of it,
85. As regards the practical life of men and women religious working for
migrants, it should be stressed as a fundamental criterion that the religious
life as such must be safeguarded and appreciated in its inspiration and in its
particular forms. It is in itself the image of perfect charity, a charism whose
treasures are of benefit to the whole community. Pastoral care for migrants
undoubtedly needs religious communities, but these in turn must be able to live
and work in observance of and adhesion to their own constitutional norms. This
is stated quite clearly in Mutuae Relationes: “In this hour of cultural
evolution and ecclesial renewal, therefore, it is necessary to preserve the
identity of each institute so securely, that the danger of an ill-defined
situation be avoided, lest religious, failing to give due consideration to the
particular mode of action proper to their character, become part of the life of
the Church in a vague and ambiguous way” (MR 11).
The laity, lay associations and ecclesial movements: for an engagement among
86. In both the Church and society the lay faithful, lay associations and
ecclesial movements, with all the diversity of their charisms and ministries,
are called to bear Christian witness and to be in the service of migrants too75.
In particular we have in mind pastoral assistants and catechists, animators of
groups of young people or adults, persons engaged in the world of labour, in
social and charitable services (cf. PaG 51).
In a Church that strives to be entirely missionary-ministerial, urged by the
Spirit, respect for the gifts of all must be given prominence. In this matter
the lay faithful enjoy areas of rightful autonomy, but they also take on typical
tasks of diakonia, such as visiting the sick, helping the elderly,
leading youth groups, animating family associations, teaching catechism and
holding courses of professional qualification, working in schools and in
administration and, furthermore, helping in the liturgy and in “consultation
centres”, in prayer meetings and in meditation on the Word of God.
87. Other and more specific tasks for the lay faithful are in trade unions and
in the world of labour, advising about and writing out laws aimed at
facilitating reunification of migrants with their families and assuring them
equal rights and opportunities. This means giving them access to essential
goods, work and wages, home and school and enabling them to participate in the
life of civil society (elections, associations, recreational activities, etc.).
In the Church itself, one could examine the possibility of instituting a
suitable form of non-ordained ministry of welcome with the task of approaching
migrants and refugees and introducing them gradually into the civil and the
ecclesial community or helping them in view of a possible return to their home
country. In this context particular attention would need to be paid to foreign
88. In this connection the lay faithful, too, need systematic formation (cf.
PaG 51), meant not just as transmitting of ideas and concepts but, above
all, as a help – surely in an intellectual sense too – for them to bear the
witness of an authentic Christian life. Ethnic and linguistic communities too
are called to be places of education even before being centres of organisation,
and in this widening view of things space will be given for ongoing and
The Christian witness of the laity in building the Kingdom of God certainly
heads the list of a host of important questions, including the relation of the
Church and the world, faith and life, and charity and justice.
The Structures of Missionary Pastoral Care
Unity in plurality: the problems
89. There are many reasons why the specific care of migrants should be more
deeply integrated into the pastoral care of particular Churches (cf. DPMC
42). The person primarily responsible for this is the diocesan/eparchial bishop
who, in full respect for the migrants’ diversity and spiritual and cultural
patrimony, goes beyond the limits of uniformity (cf. PaG 65 and 72),
distinguishing the territorial character of the spiritual care of the faithful
from that of care based on belonging to ethnic, linguistic, cultural and ritual
In this context each host Church is called upon to integrate the concrete
reality of the persons and groups that compose it, bringing the values of each
one into communion, as all are called upon to build a Church that is concretely
Catholic. “In this way there is brought about a unity in plurality in the local
Church, a unity that is not uniformity but harmony, in which every legitimate
diversity plays its part in the common and unifying effort” (CMU 19).
In that way, in the Spirit of Pentecost, the particular Church will contribute
to the foundation of a new society, in which the different languages and
cultures no longer constitute inviolable confines, as after Babel, but in which
this very diversity can realize a new manner of communication and communion (cf.
Pastoral work among migrants thus becomes a service of the Church for the
faithful whose language or culture is different from those of the host country,
while at the same time it ensures that the foreign communities make their own
contribution to the construction of a Church that must be a sign and instrument
of unity in the prospect of a renewed humanity. It is this vision that has to be
deepened and assimilated also to avoid possible tensions between indigenous
parishes and chaplaincies for immigrants, between indigenous presbyters and
chaplains/missionaries. In all this, consideration should also be given to the
classic distinction between first, second and third generations of migrants,
each one having its own characteristics and specific problems.
90. Today the problem of helping migrants find their place in the Church is
mainly on two planes: one is canonical and structural, and the other theological
Human mobility today is on a world-wide scale. In the long run this certainly
means going beyond pastoral care that is generally mono-ethnic, as both
chaplaincies/missions for foreigners and the territorial parishes of host
countries have been up to now, this in view of a pastoral approach based on
dialogue and constant mutual collaboration.
Regarding chaplaincies/missions for persons of a different culture or language,
we should note that the classic pastoral expression Missio cum cura animarum
was basically linked, in the past, to immigration that was temporary or at any
rate going through a settling-in period. Today this solution should no longer be
the almost exclusive pastoral option for immigrant communities that live at
various levels of integration in their host country. In other words, new
structures need to be thought out that, on the one hand, will be more “stable”,
with a more consequent juridical form in the particular Churches, and, on the
other, will still be flexible and open to mobile or temporary immigration. It is
no easy matter, but this already seems to be the challenge for the future.
91. Always bearing in mind that the migrants themselves must be the first
protagonists of pastoral care, we can envisage suitable solutions both in the
sphere of ethnic-linguistic pastoral care and of integrated pastoral care (cf.
In the first sphere, we would first of all draw attention, here, to some
dynamics and pastoral structures, beginning with the Missio cum cura animarum,
the classic formula for communities still being built up, applied to
ethnic/national groups or those of a given rite that have not yet settled down.
Even in such chaplaincies/missions more and more emphasis will have to be laid
on interethnic and intercultural relations.
On the other hand, a personal ethnic-linguistic parish or one based on a
particular rite is foreseen for places where there is an immigrant community
that will continually have newcomers even in the future, and where that
community is numerically strong. It maintains the typical characteristic service
of a parish (proclamation of the Word, catechesis, liturgy, diakonia) and
will be concerned above all with recent immigrants, seasonal workers or those
coming by turns, and with others who for various reasons have difficulty in
finding their place in the existent territorial structures.
We can also envisage the case of a local parish with an ethnic-linguistic
mission or with one based on a particular rite. This is identified with a
territorial parish which, with the help of one or more pastoral workers, would
take care of one or more groups of immigrant faithful. The chaplain here would
be part of the parish team.
There can likewise be an ethnic-linguistic pastoral service on a zonal level,
understood as pastoral care for immigrants who are relatively well integrated in
the local society. It seems important indeed to keep certain elements of
pastoral care based on language or linked to nationality or a particular rite.
That would guarantee essential services, including those related to a particular
type of culture and piety, and at the same time promote openness and interaction
among the territorial community and the various ethnic groups.
92. At all events when the canonical erection of such stable structures for
pastoral care appears difficult or inopportune, this does not diminish the duty
to help Catholic immigrants pastorally in whatever manner seems best in view of
circumstances, even without specific canonical institutions. Informal, perhaps
spontaneous, pastoral arrangements deserve to be recognised and encouraged
within ecclesial circumscriptions, independently of how many people benefit from
them, if only to avoid the danger of improvisation and isolated and unsuited
pastoral workers or even of sects.
Integrated pastoral care and its various sectors
93. Integrated pastoral care is here to be understood above all as communion
that knows how to appreciate belonging to different cultures and peoples. This
is in response to the Father’s plan of love, who in building His Kingdom of
peace – through Christ, with Christ and in Christ – by the power of the Spirit,
interweaves the historical, complex and often contradictory vicissitudes of
humanity (cf. NMI 43).
On this basis we can envisage:
· the intercultural and interethnic or inter-ritual parish, providing pastoral assistance for both the local population and foreigners
resident in the same territory. In this way the traditional territorial parish
would become the privileged and stable place of interethnic and intercultural
experience, while the individual groups would retain a certain autonomy. Or
· the local parish with a service for migrants of one or more ethnic groups, of
one or more rites. This would be a territorial parish made up of the local population but
whose church or parish centre would be a point of reference, meeting and
community life for one or more foreign communities too.
94. Finally we could envisage certain environments, structures or specific
pastoral sectors that are dedicated to animation and formation at various levels
in the world of migrants. We have in mind:
· Centres for pastoral work among young persons and for vocational orientation, with the task of furthering initiatives to this end;
· Centres for the formation of the laity and pastoral workers, in a multicultural perspective;
· Centres for study and pastoral reflection, with the task of observing the evolution of the migration phenomenon and
presenting suitable pastoral proposals to those in charge.
95. Pastoral units76, which came
into being some time ago in some dioceses, might in future constitute a pastoral
platform for the apostolate among immigrants too. They manifest that the
parish-territory relationship is slowly changing. It can be observed that
services for the spiritual assistance of the faithful are increasing in number
and going beyond parish boundaries, new legitimate forms of ministry are
emerging, and, last but not least, the migrants’ “diaspora” is steadily growing
in importance and spreading geographically.
Pastoral units will have the desired effect if they operate above all in the
context of overall, integrated and organic pastoral work. In this framework the
ethnic-linguistic chaplaincies/missions and those for specific rites can
likewise be fully accepted. The requirements of communion and co-responsibility
have to be manifest concretely, not only in relations between persons and
different groups but also in the relations between local parish communities and
ethnic-linguistic or ritual ones.
Semina Verbi (Seeds of the Word)
96. Today’s migrations constitute the greatest movement of persons, if not of
peoples, of all time. They bring us into contact with men and women, our
brothers and sisters, who for economic, cultural, political or religious reasons
have left or have been compelled to leave their homes and end up, for the most
part, in refugee camps, in a soulless megalopolis and in slums on the outskirts
of cities, where they often share the marginalisation of the unemployed, the
ill-adjusted youth, and abandoned women. The migrant thirsts for some gesture
that will make him feel welcome, recognised and acknowledged as a person. Even
just a simple greeting is one of these.
In answer to this yearning men and women of the consecrated life, communities,
lay associations and ecclesial movements as well as pastoral workers should feel
above all the duty to educate Christians to welcome, solidarity and openness to
foreigners, so that migration may become more and more a “significant” factor
for the Church, and the faithful may discover the semina Verbi (seeds of
the Word) found in different cultures and religions77.
97. In the Christian community born of Pentecost, migration is an integral part
of the Church’s life, clearly expresses its universality, promotes communion
within it, and influences its growth. Migration thus offers the Church an
historic opportunity to prove its four characteristic marks: the Church is
one because in a certain sense it also expresses the unity of the whole
human family; it is holy also to make all people holy and that God’s name
may be sanctified in them; it is catholic furthermore in its openness to
diversity that is to be harmonised; and it is likewise apostolic because
it is also committed to evangelise the whole human person and all people.
It is thus clear that the Church’s missionary calling is not determined only by
geographic distances but by differences of culture and religion. “Mission” is
thus going out to every person to proclaim Jesus Christ and, in Christ and the
Church, to bring him into communion with all humanity.
Builders of communion
98. Once the emergency phase has passed and migrants are settled in their host
country, the chaplain/missionary will try to widen his own horizon and become a
“deacon of communion”. Being a foreigner he will be a living reminder for the
local Church, in all its components, of its characteristic catholicity, and the
pastoral structures he serves will be a sign, poor though it may be, of a
particular Church committed in practice to a path of universal communion, with
respect for legitimate diversities.
99. In this regard all lay faithful too, though they may not have any special
functions or tasks, are to embark on the journey of communion, which implies
accepting legitimate diversity. Undoubtedly the defence of Christian values also
means no discrimination against immigrants, above all through a vigorous
spiritual renewal of the faithful themselves. Fraternal dialogue and mutual
respect, the living testimony of love and welcome, thus constitute in themselves
the first and indispensable form of evangelisation.
A dialoguing and missionary spirit in pastoral care
100. Particular Churches are thus called for the gospel’s sake to a better
welcome for migrants through pastoral initiatives that include meeting them and
dialoguing with them as well as helping the faithful to overcome prejudices and
biases. In contemporary society, to which migration contributes by making it
more and more multiethnic, intercultural and multireligious, Christians are
called to face a substantially new and fundamental chapter in the missionary
task: that of being missionary in countries of long Christian tradition (cf.
PaG 65 and 68). With great respect and attention for the migrants’
traditions and culture, we Christians are called to bear witness to the gospel
of love and peace in our dealings with them and also to proclaim the Word of God
explicitly to them so that the blessing of the Lord, promised to Abraham and his
descendants for ever, may reach them.
Because it is dialogue, communion and mission, specific pastoral care for,
among and with migrants will then become a significant expression of
the Church, called to be a fraternal and peaceful meeting place, a home for all,
a building sustained by the four pillars referred to by Blessed Pope John XXIII
in Pacem in Terris, namely, truth and justice, love and freedom78,
the fruit of that paschal event that in Christ has reconciled everything and
everybody. Thus the Church will manifest clearly that it is a home and school of
communion (cf. NMI 43) accepted and shared, of reconciliation requested
and given, of mutual, fraternal welcome and of authentic human and Christian
development. In this way, “ever more affirmed [is the knowledge of] the innate
universality of the Church’s organisation, in which no one can be considered a
stranger or just a guest, or in any way on the fringe of things” (CMU
The Church and Christians, sign of hope
101. Faced with the vast movement of people, with the phenomenon of human
mobility, considered by some as the new “credo” of contemporary man, faith
reminds us how we are all pilgrims on our way towards our true homeland.
“Christian life is essentially a living through the Passover with Christ, or a
journey, a sublime migration towards total Communion of the Kingdom of God” (CMU
10). All the history of the Church illustrates its passion and its holy zeal for
this humanity on the move.
The “foreigner” is God’s messenger who surprises us and interrupts the
regularity and logic of daily life, bringing near those who are far away. In
“foreigners” the Church sees Christ who “pitches His tent among us” (cf. Jn
1:14) and who “knocks at our door” (cf. Ap 3:20). This meeting –
characterised by attention, welcome, sharing and solidarity, by the protection
of the rights of migrants and of commitment to evangelise – reveals the constant
solicitude of the Church, which discovers authentic values in migrants and
considers them a great human resource.
102. God thus entrusts the Church, itself a pilgrim on earth, with the task of
forging a new creation in Christ Jesus, recapitulating in Him (cf. Eph
1:9-10) all the rich treasures of human diversity that sin has transformed into
division and conflict. To the extent that the mysterious presence of this new
creation is genuinely witnessed to in its life, the Church is a sign of hope for
a world that ardently desires justice, freedom, truth and solidarity, that is
peace and harmony79. And
notwithstanding the repeated failures of human projects, noble as they may have
been, Christians, roused by the phenomenon of mobility, become aware of their
call to be always and repeatedly a sign of fraternity and communion in the
world, by respecting differences and practising solidarity, in their ethics of
103. Migrants, too, can be the hidden providential builders of such a universal
fraternity together with many other brothers and sisters. They offer the Church
the opportunity to realize more concretely its identity as communion and its
missionary vocation, as asserted by the Vicar of Christ: “Migrations offer
individual local Churches the opportunity to verify their catholicity, which
consists not only in welcoming different ethnic groups, but above all in
creating communion with them and among them. Ethnic and cultural pluralism in
the Church is not just something to be tolerated because it is transitory, it is
a structural dimension. The unity of the Church is not given by a common origin
and language but by the Spirit of Pentecost which, bringing together men and
women of different languages and nations in one people, confers on them all
faith in the same Lord and the calling to the same hope”80.
104. May the Virgin Mother, who together with her Blessed Son knew the pain of
emigration and exile, help us to understand the experience, and very often the
drama, of those who are compelled to live far from their homeland, and teach us
to serve them in their necessities, truly accepting them as brothers and
sisters, so that today’s migrations may be considered a call, albeit a
mysterious one, to the Kingdom of God, which is already present in His Church,
its beginning (cf. LG 9), and an instrument of Providence to further the
unity of the human family and peace81.
Juridical Pastoral Regulations
§1. To the right of the faithful to receive the help that derives from the
spiritual wealth of the Church, especially the Word of God and the sacraments (CIC
Can. 213, CCEO Can. 16), there is a corresponding duty on the part of
pastors to provide such help, in particular to migrants, in view of their
particular condition of life.
§2. Since with their domicile or quasi-domicile migrants are canonically part of
a parish and diocese/eparchy (CIC Can. 100-107; CCEO Can.
911-917), it is the duty of the parish priest and the diocesan or eparchial
bishop to extend to them the same pastoral care as is due to their own
§3. Moreover, especially when groups of immigrants are numerous, the Churches of
their origin have the responsibility of co-operating with the Churches of
arrival to facilitate efficacious and suitable pastoral assistance.
THE LAY FAITHFUL
§1. In fulfilling their specific tasks, the lay faithful should be engaged in
concretely carrying out what truth, justice and love require. They should thus
welcome migrants as brothers and sisters and do all they can to ensure that
their rights, especially those concerning the family and its unity, are
recognised and protected by the civil authorities.
§2. The lay faithful are also called to promote the evangelisation of the
migrants through the witness of their own lives as Christians, living in faith,
hope and love, and by the proclamation of the Word of God in ways that are
possible and suitable for them. This commitment is even more necessary where
migrants are without religious assistance because their places of residence are
distant or dispersed or because of the shortage of clergy. In such cases the lay
faithful should be concerned about seeking migrants out and directing them to
the church of the area and in offering their own help to the
chaplains/missionaries and parish priests so as to facilitate their contacts
with the migrants.
§1. The faithful who decide to live with another people should strive to esteem
the cultural patrimony of the nation that welcomes them, to contribute to its
common good and to spread the faith especially by the example of Christian life.
§2. Where migrants are more numerous they, in particular, should be offered the
possibility of taking part in the diocesan/eparchial and parochial pastoral
councils, so as to really take their place in the particular Church’s structures
§3. While maintaining the right of migrants to have their own associations, at
the same time everything should be done to facilitate their participation in
§4. The lay faithful who are culturally better prepared and spiritually more
available should furthermore be urged and trained to take on a specific service
as pastoral workers in close collaboration with the chaplains/missionaries.
§1. Presbyters, who have been given the mandate by the competent ecclesiastical
authority to provide spiritual assistance in a stable way to migrants of the
same language or nation, or belonging to the same Church sui iuris, are
called chaplains/missionaries for migrants; in virtue of their office they are
endowed with the faculties described in Can. 566, §1 of the CIC.
§2. This office should be conferred on a presbyter who has been well prepared by
a suitable period of formation and who for reasons of virtue, culture and
knowledge of the language and other moral and spiritual gifts, demonstrates that
he is a suitable person for this particular and difficult task.
§1. To those presbyters who wish to devote themselves to the spiritual
assistance of migrants, the diocesan or eparchial bishop should give
authorisation to do so if he considers them suited to this mission, in
accordance with what is laid down in CIC Can. 271 and CCEO Can.
361-362 and in these present juridical pastoral regulations.
§2. Presbyters, who have obtained due permission as explained in the preceding
paragraph, should make themselves available to the Episcopal Conference ad
quam, furnished with the relevant document granted to them by their own
diocesan or eparchial bishop and their own Episcopal Conference, or by the
competent hierarchical structures of the Eastern Catholic Churches. The
Episcopal Conference ad quam will then ensure that these presbyters are
entrusted to the diocesan or eparchial bishop or to the bishops of the dioceses
or eparchies concerned, who will appoint them chaplains/missionaries to the
§3. As far as religious presbyters who dedicate themselves to assisting migrants
are concerned, the specific norms contained in Chapter III have to be applied.
§1. When it is deemed necessary to erect a personal parish, in view of the
number of migrants or the opportuneness of providing them with special pastoral
care corresponding to their needs, in doing so the diocesan or eparchial bishop
shall clearly establish the confines of this parish and the rules regarding the
parish books. Whenever the possibility exists, it should be kept in mind that
the migrants are free to choose whether they wish to belong to the territorial
parish where they are living or to the personal parish.
§2. The presbyter entrusted with a personal parish for migrants enjoys the
faculties and obligations of a parish priest; what is stated here about
chaplains/missionaries for migrants applies to him unless the nature of things
§1 The diocesan or eparchial bishop may also erect a missio cum cura animarum
in the territory of one or more parishes, clearly defining its terms of
reference. It may or may not be annexed to a territorial parish.
§2. The chaplain entrusted with a missio cum cura animarum, always
observing due distinctions, is juridically equivalent to a parish priest and
performs his functions together with the local parish priest. He likewise has
the faculty to assist at the celebration of a marriage when one of the spouses
is a migrant belonging to his mission.
§3. In the case mentioned in the preceding paragraph, the chaplain is obliged to
fill in the parish register as required by law and to send an authentic copy at
the end of every year both to the local parish priest and to the pastor of the
parish in which the marriage was celebrated.
§4. Presbyters assigned as coadjutors to a chaplain who has been entrusted with
a missio cum cura animarum have, always observing due distinctions, the
same tasks and faculties as parochial vicars.
§5. If circumstances render it opportune, a missio cum cura animarum,
erected in the territory of one or more parishes, may be annexed to a
territorial parish, especially when the latter is entrusted to members of the
same institute of consecrated life or society of apostolic life as those who are
caring for the spiritual assistance of the migrants.
§1. To every chaplain of migrants, even if not entrusted with a missio cum
cura animarum, in so far as possible, a church or oratory should be assigned
for the exercise of his sacred ministry. In the contrary case, the competent
diocesan or eparchial bishop shall issue opportune instructions authorising the
chaplain/missionary to exercise his spiritual duties freely, and together with
the local parish priest, in a church, not excluding the one of the parish.
§2. Diocesan or eparchial bishops shall ensure that the tasks of migrants’
chaplains/missionaries are coordinated with the office of the parish priests and
that the latter should accept and help them (cf. CIC Can. 571). It is
also fitting that some chaplains/missionaries for migrants be called to be
members of the diocesan presbyteral council.
Unless there are explicit agreements to the contrary between the diocesan or
eparchial bishops, the one who has erected the mission, for which the chaplain
exercises his ministry, is to guarantee him the same economic conditions and
insurance coverage as enjoyed by the other presbyters of the diocese or eparchy.
For the duration of his appointment the chaplain/missionary for migrants is
subject to the jurisdiction of the diocesan or eparchial bishop who erected the
mission for which he performs his office, both as regards the exercise of his
sacred ministry and also the observance of Church discipline.
§1. In countries in which there are numerous chaplains/missionaries for migrants
of the same language, it is opportune that one of them should be appointed
§2. In consideration that the co-ordinator’s responsibility is to co-ordinate
the ministry and service of the chaplains/missionaries operating within a
particular nation, he acts on behalf of the Episcopal Conference ad quam,
by whose president he is appointed after consultation with the Episcopal
Conference a qua.
§3. The co-ordinator shall generally be chosen from among the
chaplains/missionaries of the same nationality or language.
§4. The co-ordinator does not enjoy any power of jurisdiction in virtue of his
§5. In view of his office the co-ordinator has the duty of maintaining relations
both with the diocesan and eparchial bishops of the country a quo and
with those of the country ad quem.
§6. It is opportune to discuss matters with the co-ordinators when appointing,
transferring or replacing chaplains/missionaries, and also when envisaging the
erection of a new mission.
MEN AND WOMEN RELIGIOUS
§1. All institutes, in which religious of various nations are often present, can
make their contribution to assistance for migrants. Ecclesiastical authorities
should therefore encourage in particular the work done by those who, under the
seal of religious vows, have the apostolate to migrants as their own specific
goal or who have acquired appreciable experience in that field.
§2. The help offered by women’s religious institutes to the apostolate among
migrants should also be appreciated and valued. The diocesan or eparchial bishop
shall therefore ensure that these institutes, with full respect for their own
rules and bearing in mind their obligations and their charism, lack neither the
spiritual assistance nor the material means necessary for them to carry out
§1. In general whenever a diocesan or eparchial bishop intends to entrust the
care of migrants to a religious institute, with due respect for the customary
canonical norms, he will draw up a written agreement with the superior of that
institute. If more than one diocese or eparchy is involved, the agreement must
be signed by every diocesan or eparchial bishop. The role of co-ordinating these
initiatives belongs to the competent commission of the Episcopal Conference or
the corresponding hierarchical structures of the Eastern Catholic Churches.
§2. If the pastoral care of migrants is entrusted to an individual religious, it
is always necessary first to obtain the consent of his superior and in this case
too to draw up the relative agreement in writing; in other words, taking into
consideration due distinctions, the procedure is the same as that laid down in
Art. 5 for diocesan presbyters.
As regards carrying out their apostolate among migrants and itinerant people,
all religious are bound to obey the dispositions of the diocesan or eparchial
bishop. Even in the case of institutes with the specific goal of assisting
migrants, everything done and all initiatives taken in the migrants’ favour are
subject to the authority and direction of the diocesan or eparchial bishop,
allowing however for the right of superiors to watch over the religious life and
the zeal with which their members carry out their ministry.
Everything laid down in this chapter about religious is applicable, respecting
due distinctions, to societies of apostolic life and to secular institutes.
§1. The diocesan or eparchial bishop shall devote special care to migrant
faithful, above all by supporting the pastoral action in their favour performed
by parish priests and the chaplains/missionaries for immigrants. In this he
shall ask any necessary help from the migrants’ Churches of origin, or from
other institutions devoted to spiritual assistance for migrants, and also
provide for the creation of pastoral structures best adapted to the
circumstances and pastoral needs. If necessary, the diocesan or eparchial bishop
shall appoint an episcopal vicar with the charge of directing the pastoral care
of migrants, or else he shall set up a special office for the migrants
themselves at the episcopal or eparchial chancery.
§2. Since the spiritual care of the faithful is the duty in primis of the
diocesan or eparchial bishop, it is his responsibility to erect personal
parishes and missiones cum cura animarum and to appoint
chaplains/missionaries. The diocesan or eparchial bishop shall ensure that the
territorial parish priest and the presbyters entrusted with migrants move
forward together in a spirit of collaboration and understanding.
§3. The diocesan or eparchial bishop, in accordance with CIC Can. 383 and
CCEO Can. 193, shall also provide for spiritual assistance to migrants of
another Church sui iuris, supporting the pastoral work of presbyters of
the same rite or of other presbyters, and observing the relevant canonical
§1. With regard to Christian migrants not in full communion with the Catholic
Church, the diocesan or eparchial bishop shall have an attitude of charity,
promoting ecumenism as understood by the Church and offering these immigrants
the spiritual help that is possible and necessary, respecting the norms
concerning communicatio in sacris and the legitimate desiderata of
§2. The diocesan or eparchial bishop shall also consider unbaptised migrants as
entrusted to him in the Lord and, with respect for their freedom of conscience,
shall offer them too the possibility of coming to the truth that is Christ.
§1. The diocesan or eparchial bishops of the countries a quibus shall
remind parish priests of their serious duty to provide for all the faithful a
religious formation such that, if the case may be, they will be able to face the
difficulties connected with their departure for emigration.
§2. The diocesan or eparchial bishops of the places a quibus shall
moreover take it upon themselves to seek out diocesan/eparchial presbyters who
are suited for pastoral care with emigrants, and they shall not neglect to enter
into close relations with the Episcopal Conference or the corresponding
hierarchical structure of the Eastern Catholic Church of the nation ad quam
in order to help in pastoral work.
§3. Even in dioceses/eparchies or regions where it is not immediately necessary
for seminarians to specialise in the field of migration, the problems of human
mobility should be taken more and more into account in the teaching of theology,
especially pastoral theology.
EPISCOPAL CONFERENCES AND THE CORRESPONDING HIERARCHICAL STRUCTURES OF THE EASTERN CATHOLIC CHURCHES
§1. In countries to which migrants go, or which they leave, in larger numbers,
the Episcopal Conferences and the competent hierarchical structures of the
Eastern Catholic Churches shall set up a special national commission for
migration. It will have its secretary, who in general will take on the office of
national director for migration. It is very opportune that religious should be
present on this commission as experts, especially those working for the
spiritual assistance of migrants, as well as lay faithful qualified in this
§2. In other countries where there are fewer migrants, the Episcopal Conferences
or the corresponding hierarchical structures of the Eastern Catholic Churches
shall appoint a bishop promoter to ensure that migrants are properly assisted.
§3. Episcopal Conferences and the corresponding hierarchical structures of the
Eastern Catholic Churches will inform the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral
Care of Migrants and Itinerant People of the composition of the commission
described in the first paragraph or the name of the bishop promoter.
§1. It is the duty of the Migration Commission or the bishop promoter:
1. to gather information on the migration
situation in the country and to pass on useful data to the diocesan/eparchial
bishops, also in contact with the centres for migration studies;
2. to animate and stimulate the relevant diocesan
commissions, which in turn will do the same with respect to those parochial
commissions concerned with the vast and more general phenomenon of human
3. to receive requests for chaplains/missionaries
from the bishops of dioceses/eparchies in which there is immigration, and
introduce to them the presbyters proposed for this ministry;
4. to propose to the Episcopal Conference and the
corresponding hierarchical structures of the Eastern Catholic Churches, when
necessary, the appointment of a national coordinator for the
5. to establish opportune contacts with Episcopal
Conferences and the corresponding hierarchical structures of the Eastern
Catholic Churches concerned;
6. to establish opportune contacts with the
Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People and to
pass on indications received from the Council to the diocesan or eparchial
7. to send an annual report on the situation of
the pastoral care of migrants to the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of
Migrants and Itinerant People, to the Episcopal Conference, to the corresponding
hierarchical structures of the Eastern Catholic Churches, and also to the
§2. It is the task of the national director:
1. to facilitate in general – also in reference to
Art. 11 – the relations of the bishops of his own country with the national
commission or with the bishop promoter;
2. to compile the report mentioned in point 7, §1
of this Article.
In order to arouse the awareness of all the faithful to their duty of fraternity
and charity towards migrants and to collect the necessary economic aid to fulfil
pastoral obligations towards them, the Episcopal Conferences and the
corresponding hierarchical structures of the Eastern Catholic Churches shall fix
a date for a “Day (or Week) of Migrants and Refugees” at a time and in the
manner called for by local circumstances, even if for the future it is to be
hoped that a fixed date can be agreed upon for its celebration everywhere.
THE PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR THE PASTORAL CARE
OF MIGRANTS AND ITINERANT PEOPLE
§1. It is the task of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants
and Itinerant People to guide “the pastoral solicitude of the Church to the
particular needs of those who have been forced to abandon their homeland as well
as those who have none. Consequently the Council closely follows all questions
pertaining to this matter” (PB 149). Moreover “the Council is committed
to assuring that particular Churches offer efficacious and relevant spiritual
assistance to refugees and exiles, by setting up adequatepastoral structures
when necessary, as well as to migrants” (PB 150, 1), always however with
due respect for the pastoral responsibility of local Churches and the competence
of other organs of the Roman Curia.
§2. It is therefore the duty of the Pontifical Council among other things:
1. to study the reports sent in by Episcopal
Conferences or the corresponding hierarchical structures of the Eastern Catholic
2. to issue instructions, referred to by Can. 34
of the CIC, to make suggestions and encourage initiatives, activities and
programmes to develop structures and institutions relating to the pastoral care
3. to promote exchange of information among the
different Episcopal Conferences or of that coming from the corresponding
hierarchical structures of the Eastern Catholic Churches, and to facilitate
their relations with one another, especially when it is a matter of transferring
a presbyter from one nation to another for the pastoral care of migrants;
4. to study, encourage, and animate the pastoral
activity of regional and continental organisms of ecclesial communion to
co-ordinate and harmonise initiatives in favour of migrants;
5. to study situations to evaluate if, in
determined places, there are circumstances that may suggest specific pastoral
structures for migrants (cf. no. 24, note 23);
6. to promote the relations of religious
institutes that offer spiritual assistance to migrants with the Episcopal
Conferences and the corresponding hierarchical structures of the Eastern
Catholic Churches and to follow their work, always with due respect for the
competence of the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the
Societies of Apostolic Life, in matters regarding the observance of the
religious life, and the competence of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches;
7. to stimulate and participate in useful or
necessary initiatives in view of a profitable and sound ecumenical collaboration
in the field of migration, in agreement with the Pontifical Council for
Promoting Christian Unity;
8. to stimulate and participate in those
initiatives that are considered necessary or advantageous for dialogue with
groups of non-Christian migrants, in agreement with the Pontifical Council for
Notwithstanding any contrary dispositions.
On the 1st of May 2004, Memorial of St. Joseph the Worker, the Holy
Father approved the present Instruction of the Pontifical Council for the
Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People and authorized its publication.
Rome, from the offices of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of
Migrants and Itinerant People, on the 3rd of May 2004, Feast of
Saints Philip and James, Apostles.
Stephen Fumio Cardinal Hamao
+ Agostino Marchetto
Titular Archbishop of Astigi
Apostolicam actuositatem (II Vatican Council)
AAS Acta Apostolicae Sedis
Ad Gentes (II Vatican Council)
CCEO Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium
Christus Dominus (II Vatican Council)
(Pope John Paul II)
Codex Iuris Canonici
CMU Chiesa e mobilitá umana (The Church and Human
Mobility) (Pontifical Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migration and Tourism)
DPMC De Pastorali Migratorum Cura (Congregation for Bishops)
Ecclesia in America (Pope John Paul II)
Ecclesia de Eucharistia (Pope John Paul II)
Ecclesia in Europa (Pope John Paul II)
Evangelii Nuntiandi (Pope Paul VI)
Ecclesia in Oceania (Pope John Paul II)
EV Enchiridion Vaticanum
Gaudium et Spes (II Vatican Council)
Lumen Gentium (II Vatican Council)
The Holy Father‘s Message for the World Day of Migrants and
Mutuae Relationes (Congregation for Religious and for Secular Institutes and Congregation for Bishops)
Novo Millennio Ineunte (Pope John
Orientalium Ecclesiarum (II Vatican Council)
Pastores Gregis (Pope John Paul II)
(Pope John Paul II)
Pastores dabo vobis (Pope John Paul II)
PG Patrologia Graeca, Migne
PL Patrologia Latina, Migne
(II Vatican Council)
Pacem in Terris
(Pope John XXIII)
Redemptor Hominis (Pope John Paul II)
Redemptoris Mater (Pope John Paul II)
Redemptoris Missio (Pope John Paul II)
(II Vatican Council)
John Paul II, Message for the World Day of Peace 2001 Dialogue between Cultures for a
Civilisation of Love and Peace
, 12: AAS
XCIII (2001) 241; cf. also John Paul II,
Apostolic Letter Novo millennio ineunte
, 55: AAS
XCIII (2001) 306.
Pontifical Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migration and Tourism, circular letter to Episcopal Conferences
Chiesa e mobilità umana
, 8: AAS
LXX (1978) 362.
Cf. John Paul II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Europa,
XCV (2003) 655 and Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Pastores Gregis
, 69 and 72: OR
17 October 2003, p. 12.
Cf. John Paul II, Angelus Domini
of Sunday, 6 July 2003: OR
7-8 July 2003, p. 1.
The Convention also mentions those principles and rights that already
exist in the international arena and which can very well be applied to migrants.
It makes reference, for instance, to the Slavery Conventions, the Convention
against Discrimination in the Field of Education, the Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, as well as to the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant
on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of
All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Convention against Torture and
Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Mention must also be
made of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Manila Declaration of
the Fourth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment
of Offenders. It is therefore significant that even those countries, which have
not ratified the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and the Members of Their Families, are obliged to observe the
aforementioned instruments, naturally if they ratified or subsequently adhered
to them. On the rights of migrants in civil society, cf., for instance from the
Church’s point of view, John Paul II, Encyclical Laborem Exercens
LXXIII (1981) 635-637.
Cf. 2003 Message: OR Weekly Edition in English,
2002, p. 6.
Cf. Second Vatican Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the
Modern World Gaudium et Spes,
Proemio, 22, 30-32: AAS
1025-1027; 1042-1044; 1049-1051; Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen
, 1, 7 and 13; AAS
LVII (1965) 5, 9-11, 17-18; Decree on the
Apostolate of the Laity Apostolicam Actuositatem,
(1966) 850ff.; John XXIII, Encyclical Pacem in Terris
, Part I: AAS
LV (1963) 259-269; Pontifical Council Cor Unum and Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People,
Refugees, a Challenge to Solidarity
13 (1991-1993) 1019-1037; Pontifical Commission for Justice and Peace,
Self-Reliance: compter sur soi
6 (1977-1979) 510-563; and Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace,
The Church and the Racism
, Vatican City 2001.
1999 Message, 3: OR
21 February 1999, p. 7.
Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Redemptoris Mater
, 25: AAS
Cf. Letter to Diognetus 5.1, quoted in Message 1999, 2: l.c.
Cf. Clement of Rome, Letter to the Corinthians
, X-XII: PG
1, 228-233; Didaché
XI, 1; XII, 1-5, ed. F.X. FUNK, 1901, pp. 24, 30; Apostolic Constitutions
VII, 29, 2, ed. F.X. FUNK, 1905, p. 418; Justin, Apologia
I, 67: PG
6, 429; Tertullian, Apologeticum
, 39: PL
1, 471; Tertullian, De
, 20: PL
2, 32; Augustine, Sermo
103, 1-2. 6: PL
Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Redemptoris Missio
, 20: AAS
We may remember among others the Salesians of St John Bosco in Argentina,
the initiatives of St Frances Xavier Cabrini, especially in North America, the
two religious Congregations founded by Blessed Bishop Giovanni Battista
Scalabrini, the Bonomelli Work in Italy, the St. Raphaels-Verein in Germany and
the Society of Christ for Emigrants founded by Card. August Hlond in Poland.
Cf. Sacra Congregatio Consistorialis,
Decretum de Sacerdotibus in certas quasdam regiones demigrantibus
Ethnografica studia: AAS
VI (1914) 182-186.
Cf. Sacra Congregatio Consistorialis, Decretum de Clericis in certas
quasdam regiones demigrantibus Magni semper
XI (1919) 39-43.
XLIV (1952) 649-704.
17The first part of the encyclical Pacem in Terris, dealing with the right to emigrate or immigrate, states, “Every human person has
the right to move freely and to settle anywhere within the political community
of which he is a citizen and also the right, when legitimate interests make this
advisable, to immigrate to other political communities and settle there”:
Second Vatican Council, Decree on the Pastoral Office of Bishops in the Church Christus Dominus
LVIII (1966) 682. Regarding the “dispositions already given” cf. Pius X,
Motu proprio Iam pridem: AAS
VI (1914) 173ff; Pius XII, Apostolic
Constitution Exsul Familia
, especially the normative part, l.c.
692-704; Sacra Congregatio Consistorialis, Leges Operis Apostolatus Maris,
auctoritate Pii Div. Prov. PP. XII conditae
L (1958) 375-383.
Cf. 1993 Message, 6: OR
August 1992, p. 5.
Paul VI, Motu proprio
Pastoralis Migratorum Cura
LXI (1969) 601-603.
Congregation for Bishops, InstructionDe pastorali migratorum cura (Nemo
LXI (1969) 614-643.
Cf. The Church and Human Mobility, l.c.
Can. 294 and John Paul II, Post-Synodal Apostolic
Exhortation Ecclesia in America,
65 note 237: AAS
XCI (1999) 800.
Cf. also John Paul II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Europa
103 note 166, l.c.
Cf. John Paul II, Apostolic Constitution Sacri Canones
LXXXII (1990) 1037.
For specific norms and regulations concerning the Eastern Catholic Churches in
this context, cf. CCEO
, Can. 315 (which deals with Exarchates and Exarchs),
Can. 911 and 916 (on the status of the foreigner and the local ordinary, his own
ordinary and his own parish priest), Can. 986 (on authority of government), Can.
1075 (on the competent forum) and Can. 1491 (on laws, customs and administrative
John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio
, 77: AAS
Cf. Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Instruction Starting Afresh from Christ, a Renewed Commitment to Consecrated
Life in the Third Millennium
, 9, 35, 36, 37 and 44: OR Weekly
Edition in English
26 June 2002, Special Insert pp. III, VIII, IX.
John Paul II, Encyclical Redemptor Hominis
, 14: AAS
LXXI (1979) 284-286.
Cf. in particular the 1992 Message: OR
11 September 1991, p. 5, and those
of 1996: OR
6 September 1995, p. 6 and 1998: OR
21 November 1997,
Cf. 1993 Message: 2, l.c.
Cf. John Paul II, “Faith Calls Us to Welcome the Immigrant”, Address to the IV World Congress on
the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Refugees (5-10 October 1998): OR
Weekly Edition in English
4 November 1998, p. 8. Cf. Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, the Holy Father’s Address, 2: Proceedings of IV World Congress on the Pastoral
Care of Migrants and Refugees, Vatican City 1999, p. 9.
Cf. 1996 Message: OR
6 September 1995, p. 6.
1988 Message, 3b: OR
4 September 1987, p. 5.
Cf. 1990 Message, 5: OR
22 September 1989, p. 5, and those of 1992, 3,
5-6: l.c. 5, and 2003: OR
2-3 December 2002, p. 7.
Cf. 1987 Message: OR
21 September 1986 p.5, and that of 1994: OR
17 September 1993, p. 4.
Giovanni Battista Scalabrini,
Memorandum for the constitution of a pontifical commission Pro emigratis
(4 May 1905), in S. Tomasi and G. Rosoli, “Scalabrini e le
migrazioni moderne. Scritti e carteggi”, Turin 1997, p. 233.
John Paul II, Apostolic Constitution on the Roman Curia Pastor Bonus
, 149-151: AAS
LXXX (1988) 899-900.
John Paul II, Address to the members of the International Catholic Migration Commission, 4:
12-13 November 2001, p. 6.
In particular Paul VI in his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii
(no. 20) draws attention to the need for the evangelization of
different cultures. He states that “what matters is to evangelize man’s culture
and cultures … in the wide and rich sense which these terms have in Gaudium
[cf. no. 53], always taking the person as one’s starting point and
always coming back to the relationships of people among themselves and with
God. The Gospel, and therefore evangelisation, are certainly not identical with
culture, and they are independent in regard to all cultures. Nevertheless, the
Kingdom which the Gospel proclaims is lived by men who are profoundly linked to
a culture, and the building up of the Kingdom cannot avoid borrowing the
elements of human culture and cultures”: AAS
LXVIII (1976) 18-19.
Cf. also Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Letter to the
Bishops on Certain Aspects of the Church as Communion
, 8-9: AAS
Cf. also Second Vatican Council, Decree on the Missionary Activity of the Church Ad Gentes
, 11: AAS
LVIII (1966) 959-960.
Cf. Second Vatican Council, Decree on the Ministry and Life of Presbyters Presbyterorum ordinis
2 and 6: AAS
LVIII (1966) 991-993, 999-1001 and the Constitution on the
Sacred Liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium
, 47: AAS
LVI (1964) 113, as
Cf. Interdicasterial Instruction on Certain Questions Concerning the
Collaboration of the Laity with the Ministry of the Priests Ecclesiae de
LXXXIX (1997) 852-877 and PaG
51 and 68.
Chapter 15 of the Epistle to the Romans
gives us the basic features of
the duty to welcome others. The welcome must be “Christian” and profound and
come from the heart (May God “help you all to be tolerant with each other,
following the example of Christ Jesus”: v. 5); it must be generous and
gratuitous, disinterested and not possessive (“Christ did not think of himself …
, he became [a] servant”: vv. 3 and 8); it must be benevolent and strengthening
(“Each of us should think of his neighbours and help them to become stronger
Christians”: v. 2); and it must be attentive to the weaker ones (“We who are
strong have a duty to put up with the qualms of the weak without thinking of
ourselves”: v. 1).
Cf. 1992 Message, 3-4: l.c.
5 and PaG
Cf. John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles Laici
, 23: AAS
LXXXI (1989) 429-433, RMi
71 and PaG
John Paul II, Apostolic Letter on the Sanctification of Sunday Dies Domini
, 53: AAS
XC (1998) 747; cf. Congregation for Divine Worship, Directory on Sunday Worship
in the Absence of a Priest Christi Ecclesia
, 18-50: EV
(1988-1989) 452-468, and Interdicasterial Instruction Ecclesiae de mysterio
Art. 4 and 7: l.c.
Cf. Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments,
Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy. Principles and Orientations
Vatican City, 2002; and International Theology Commission, Faith and
, Part Three, Present-day Inculturation Problems
11 (1988-1989) 876-878.
Cf. Second Vatican Council, Decree on the Eastern Catholic Churches Orientalium Ecclesiarum
, 4 and
LVII (1965) 77-78.
Cf. Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, De
, Vatican City 1985.
Cf. 1991 Message: OR
15 August 1990, p. 5; Secretariats for Christian Unity, for Non-Christians
and for Non-Believers and Pontifical Council for Culture (eds.), The
Phenomenon of Sects and New Religious Movements: a Pastoral Challenge
Vatican City 1986; and Sects and New Religious Movements: Texts of the
(1986-1994) (by the Work Group for New Religious
Movements),Vatican City 1995. Regarding "New Age", cf. Pontifical Councils for Culture
and for Interreligious Dialogue, Jesus Christ, the Bearer of the Water
of Life. A Christian Reflection on the “New Age”
, Vatican City 2003.
As regards the provisions for the coordination of different rites in one and the
same territory, cf. CCEO
Can. 202, 207 and 322.
Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism
LXXXV (1993) 1090.
John Paul II, Encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia
, 45: OR
18 April 2003, p. 5.
Referring to his encyclical Ut unum sint
, the Holy Father states as
follows for Catholics: “Conversely, in specific cases and in particular circumstances, Catholics too can
request these same sacraments from ministers of Churches in which these
sacraments are valid ” (no. 46: AAS
LXXXVII  948). “These conditions, from which no dispensation can be given, must be carefully
respected, even though they deal with specific individual cases, because [due
to] the denial of one or more truths of the faith regarding these sacraments
and, among these, the truth regarding the need of the ministerial priesthood for
their validity, … Catholics may not receive communion in those communities which
lack a valid sacrament of Orders” (EE
Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism
37b, 52, 53, 55-57: l.c.
283, 299, 300, 302-305.
Cf. Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples,
Instruction Dialogo e annuncio
, 42-50: AAS
LXXXIV (1992) 428-431.
In schools in which meals are offered, account must be taken of the dietary
rules of the pupils, unless their parents declare that they renounce this. The
school should also provide occasion for dialogue on common activities between
parents, including those belonging to other religions.
John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Oceania
, 45: AAS
XCIV (2002) 417-418.
Cf. Second Vatican Council, Declaration on the Church’s Relations with Non-Christian Religions Nostra
, 1-3, 5: AAS
LVIII (1966) 740-744 and also EEu
Cf. also Secretariat for Non-Christians, The Church’s Attitude Towards the
Followers of Other Religions
, 32: OR
11-12 June 1984, p. 4.
Cf. 2002 Message, 3: OR
19 October 2001, p. 5.
Congregation for Catholic Education, Circular letter The Mobility Phenomenon
, addressed to diocesan ordinaries
and the rectors of their seminaries, on the inclusion of pastoral care for human
mobility in the training of future priests, (1986), Appendix
, 3: EV
10 (1986-87) 14.
Cf. John Paul II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Pastores dabo vobis
LXXXIV (1992) 760.
For the definition of “missionary” or “chaplain” cf. DPMC
35. The new
simply uses the word cappellanus
, cf. Can. 564-572. Regarding the
specific purpose of this missionary activity cf. AG
6; for the necessity
of the Church’s mandate cf. DPMC
36; for those the activity is meant for,
the migrants, cf. DPMC
15 and the above-mentioned circular
letter The Church and Human Mobility
, 2: l.c.
358. As regards the
concept of the pastoral care of migrants cf. DPMC
Cf. Congregation for Religious and for Secular Institutes and Congregation for Bishops, Directives on the Mutual Relations between Bishops and Religious in the
Church, Mutuae Relationes
, 11 and 12: AAS
LXX (1978) 480-481.
John Paul II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Vita consecrata
, 58: AAS
LXXXVIII (1996) 430; cf. EEu
Cf. Congregation for Religious and for Secular Institutes and Pontifical Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migration and Tourism,
Joint Letter to All Men and Women Religious in the World: People on the Move
48 (1987) 163-166.
Cf. Congregation for Religious and for Secular Institutes and the Pontifical
Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migration and Tourism, Joint Instruction
An Invitation to Pastoral Commitment for Migrants and Refugees
, 11: SCRIS
, 15 (1989) 183-184; cf. AG
20 and DPMC
Cf. 1988 Message: l.c.
5; Instruction Ecclesiae de mysterio
860-861, and EEu
They are generally composed of several parishes that the bishop has requested to
work together to constitute an efficacious “missionary community” to operate in
a given territory in harmony with the diocesan pastoral plan. It amounts
basically to a form of inter-parish collaboration and coordination (between two
or more adjacent parishes).
Cf. 1996 Message: OR
6 September 1995, p.6.
, first part: l.c.
1988 Message, 3c: OR
4 September 1987, p. 5.
Cf. 2004 Message: OR
24 December 2003, p. 5.