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 Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People

People on the Move - N° 91-92, April - August 2003, p. 5-16

XXXV° Anno di Pontificato Romano di

Sua Santita’ Giovanni Paolo II

In occasione dei cinque lustri di Pontificato di Sua Santità,

il Pontificio Consiglio della Pastorale per i Migranti e gli Itineranti

esprime vivissime felicitazioni e formula auguri sinceri di ogni bene, 

assicurando fervide preghiere all’Altissimo:

 “Dominus conservet Eum et vivificet Eum!”

In tale gaudiosa occasione la nostra Rivista, espressione della sollecitudine pastorale di cui il Vescovo di Roma ha fatto partecipe questo Pontificio Consiglio, inizia la pubblicazione della 

Parola del Santo Padre

From the Holy Father

sui temi che, in un dato periodo di tempo, interessano i nostri vari Settori pastorali*. E’ un umile omaggio a Sua Santità, “Papa itinerante”, “Papa in cammino” (v. p. ….).

Address to the bishops of Guinea on their "ad limina" visit 

Saturday, 15 February 2003

8. I know of the active presence of the Church, especially through her national and international charitable institutions, with people who are affected by such serious illnesses as AIDS, with the many refugees who come from neighbouring countries, and, in a general way, with all who are suffering the consequences of poverty. I encourage you to persevere in your efforts to offer them the material and pastoral help they request. I warmly thank those who generously put themselves at the service of their brothers and sisters. In this way, in the name of the whole Church, they are witnesses of Christ's love to the weakest and most underprivileged of society. 

L’Osservatore Romano (English Edition)N.9 (1782), 26 February 2003, p.9

Message to the President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)

19 February 2003

We think right away of the victims of conflicts and of serious violations of fundamental rights, of the reality of refugees and evacuees, and of those affected by sickness and epidemics. All these situations threaten the orderly coexistence of persons and communities, are a serious risk to human life, and have obvious repercussions on food security and, more generally, on the standard of living in rural areas.

These special situations and circumstances, together with the information submitted to be examined in this meeting, urge us to recognize the centrality of the human person and his basic needs as the foundation on which to build without delay international action. 

In fact, if we turn our attention to the phenomena that define the present panorama of international life, in the first place there emerge the conflict of interests and desire to predominate which lead to giving up negotiation and withdrawing into isolation, thus hindering the activity of cooperation to respond effectively to needs. Nor should we forget the unfortunate resignation that seems to have snuffed out the will to live of entire populations, whom hunger and malnutrition have pushed to the margins of the Community of Nations, far from conditions of life that are truly respectful of human dignity.

Address to the Regional Bishops' Conference of North Africa (CERNA)

Saturday, 22 February 2003

6. In every Christian community, even if it is small in numbers and fragile, the service of charity to the poorest remains a priority, for it is the expression of God's goodness for all human beings and of the sharing which we are all called to live without distinction of race, culture or creed. You live this service, especially with the sick and the disabled, whom you welcome and care for in the hospitals and clinics which the women religious staff as a service to the people. Continue also to care for the migrants who pass through your countries of the Maghreb hoping to reach Europe; offer them in their privation and precarious situation a period of rest and fraternal cordiality!

L’Osservatore Romano (English Edition)N.10 (1783), 5 March 2003, p.3

Address to the Latin tnd Greek-Catholic Bishops of Romania on Their Ad Limina Visit

Saturday, 1 March 2003 

The fragility of couples, the ongoing emigration of young families to Western countries, the handing over of the education of the children to their grandparents, the forced separation of spouses, especially when it is the mother who leaves in search of work, the widespread practice of abortion, birth control practiced with methods that are opposed to respect for the dignity of the human person, these are just some of the burning issues that you are concerned about and have to deal with in pastoral life. We can never emphasize enough the primacy of the family in the overall work of educating the new generations. 

L’Osservatore Romano (English Edition)N.11 (1784), 12 March 2003, p.4

Address to the Bishops of Scotland on Their Visit Ad Limina Apostolorum

Tuesday, 4 March 2003 

6. In speaking of the new evangelization, we are not presenting a "new programme" but taking up once more the call of the Gospel as embodied in the living Tradition of the Church. Nevertheless the revitalization of Christian life does require pastoral initiatives adapted to the actual circumstances of each community, built upon dialogue and shaped by the participation of the various sectors of God’s holy people. Joint efforts on the part of Bishops, priests, deacons, Religious and laity are essential for addressing issues of grave concern not only for the Church but for the whole of Scottish society. Marriage and family life represent two areas where such cooperation is not only advisable but necessary: in this regard I am pleased to note the forthcoming gathering of the Bishops of Scotland with agencies involved in these very fields. Another matter which the combined energies of all the faithful will prove particularly valuable in addressing is the welcome which your communities can give to refugees and asylum-seekers, especially through programmes aimed at assistance, education and social integration. Similarly, the process of consultation and planning upon which you embarked in respect to the question of Scottish seminaries shows the importance of a collaborative approach in dealing with urgent matters relating to the Church at the national, diocesan or local level.

L’Osservatore Romano (English Edition)N.11 (1784), 12 March 2003, p.3

Address to the Bishops of Scandinavia on Their Visit Ad Limina Apostolorum

Saturday, 5 April 2003

4.The people of Scandinavia are well known for their participation in peace-keeping missions, their deep sense of responsibility in the face of ecological crises, and their generosity in providing humanitarian aid. True humanism, however, always includes God. Otherwise it will eventually, even if unintentionally, deny human beings their proper place in creation and will fail to acknowledge fully the dignity which belongs to every person (cf. Christifideles Laici, 5). Therefore you must help your respective cultures to draw on their rich Christian heritage in shaping their understanding of the human person. In Christ all people are brothers and sisters, and our gestures of solidarity towards them become acts of love and fidelity to Christ, who said whatever you do to one of the least of these, you do to me (cf. Mt 25:45). This is the foundation of the culture of life and the civilization of love that we seek to build up, and it is also the perspective underlying your efforts to welcome the growing number of migrants in the Nordic lands.

L’Osservatore Romano (English Edition),N.16 (1789), 16 April 2003, p.3

Address to the President of the Republic of Argentina

Monday, 7 April 2003 

I pray to God that the Argentine nation, advancing on the paths of unity and effective solidarity, may achieve in the near future the prosperity which its children long for, after going through a major crisis. May the government leaders with political, administrative and legal responsibilities, as well as the experts in the various social sciences, discern and work hard to pass the necessary reforms, so that no one is deprived of what they need to develop as a person and a citizen. May they pay special attention to the most deprived social sectors, to the poor in general and to the unemployed, old-age pensioners and young people, without forgetting those who, for obvious reasons, are obliged to emigrate to other countries, crossing their own frontiers in search of a better future. The Argentinians, putting their trust in God and counting on the help of the international community, must be the principal protagonists and artisans of the history of a homeland that is serene and promising for all.

Address to the Syro-Malabar Bishops of India 

13 May 2003

The issue of the pastoral care of Oriental Catholics in India and abroad continues to be of concern to the Catholic Bishops Conference of India and to the Syro-Malabar Synod. Here, I wish to emplhasize the “urgent need to overcome the fears and misunderstandings which appear at times between the Eastern Churches and the Latin Church… especially with regard to the pastoral care of the their people also outside their own territory” (Ecclesia in Asia, 27). It is heartening to see the strides you have already made in attempting find a solution to this matter.

I am certain that you will continue to work closely with your Brother Bishops of the Latin Rite and the Holy See to ensure that Syro-Malabars throughout India the world receive the spiritual support they deserve in strict respect for canonical dispositions which are, as we know, appropriate means for the preservation of ecclesial communion (cf. Christus Dominus, 23; Codex Iuris Canonici, Canon 383, 4; Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium, Canon 916, 4). It is necessary that clear distinctions be made between the work of evangelization and that of the pastoral care of Eastern Catholics. This must always be done with respect towards the local bishop, who are placed by the Holy Spirit to govern the holy Church of God in union with the Roman Pontiff, the Pastor of the Universal Church.

L’Osservatore Romano (English Edition)N. 20 (1793), 14 May 2003, p. 3

Angelus Domini of Sunday 15 June 2003

2. In the light of this universal horizon of communion, every situation in which human persons or groups are obliged to flee their own land to seek refuge elsewhere stands out as a serious offence to God. The annual World Day of Refugees that will be celebrated next Friday, 20 June, reminds us of this and invites us to focus this year on the plight of young refugees.

Almost half the refugees in the wold are children and young people. Many of them do not go to school, are deprived of bacic essentials and live in refugees-camps or even in detention centres.

The dramatic plight of refugees demands that the international community do everything possible not only to treat the symptoms, but first of all to go to the root of the problem: in other words, to prevent conflicts and promote justice and solidarity in every context of the human family.

L’Osservatore Romano (English Edition)N 25 (1798), 18 June 2003, p.1

From the Post-Sinodal Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia In Europa 

A first proclamation and a renewed proclamation

46. In various parts of Europe a first proclamation of the Gospel is needed: the number of the unbaptized is growing, both because of the significant presence of immigrants of other religions and because children born into families of Christian tradition have not received Baptism, either as a result of the Communist domination or the spread of religious indifference.Indeed, Europe is now one of those traditionally Christian places which, in addition to a new evangelization, require in some cases a first evangelization. 

The Church cannot shirk the responsibility of making a courageous diagnosis which will make it possible to decide on appropriate therapies. On the «old» continent too, there are vast social and cultural areas which stand in need of a true missio ad gentes.

Première annonce et annonce renouvelée

46. Dans différentes parties de l'Europe, une première annonce de l'Évangile est nécessaire: le nombre des personnes non baptisées grandit, soit en raison de la présence notable de personnes immigrées appartenant à d'autres religions, soit encore parce que les enfants de familles de tradition chrétienne n'ont pas reçu le Baptême ou à cause de la domination communiste ou d'une indifférence religieuse diffuse. En réalité, l'Europe se situe désormais parmi les lieux traditionnellement chrétiens dans lesquels, hormis une nouvelle évangélisation, s'impose dans certains cas une première évangélisation.

L'Église ne peut se soustraire au devoir d'un diagnostic courageux qui ouvre la voie à des thérapies appropriées. Même dans le « vieux » continent, il y a des aires sociales et culturelles étendues où est rendue nécessaire une véritable mission ad gentes.

Primer anuncio y nuevo anuncio

46. En varias partes de Europa se necesita un primer anuncio del Evangelio: crece el número de las personas no bautizadas, sea por la notable presencia de emigrantes pertenecientes a otras religiones, sea porque también los hijos de familias de tradición cristiana no han recibido el Bautismo, unas veces por la dominación comunista y otras por una indiferencia religiosa generalizada. De hecho, Europa ha pasado a formar parte de aquellos lugares tradicionalmente cristianos en los que, además de una nueva evangelización, se impone en ciertos casos una primera evangelización

La Iglesia no puede eludir el deber de un diagnóstico claro que permita preparar los remedios oportunos. En el « viejo » Continente existen también amplios sectores sociales y culturales en los que se necesita una verdadera y auténtica misión ad gentes.

The evangelization of culture and the inculturation of the Gospel

58. The proclamation of Jesus Christ must also reach contemporary European culture. The evangelization of culture must show that in today's Europe too it is possible to live the Gospel fully as a path which gives meaning to existence. To this end, pastoral practice must undertake the task of shaping a Christian mentality in ordinary life: in families, in schools, in social communications, in cultural life, in the workplace and the economy, in politics, in leisure-time, in health and in sickness. What is needed is a calm critical assessment of the current cultural situation of Europe and an evaluation of the emerging trends and the more significant contemporary events and situations in the light of the centrality of Christ and of Christian anthropology.

59… Convinced of the importance of academic institutions, I also ask the various local Churches to promote an adequate pastoral care of the university community, favouring whatever corresponds to present cultural needs.

79. Special consideration also needs to be given to popular piety.Widely diffused in different areas of Europe through confraternities, pilgrimages and processions to numerous shrines, it enriches the unfolding of the liturgical year and inspires traditions and customs in families and in society. All these forms of popular piety should be carefully evaluated through a pastoral effort of promotion and renewal aimed at helping them to accent those elements which authentically express the wisdom of the People of God… With regard to popular piety, constant vigilance is needed in order to prevent ambiguities in certain of its manifestations, to preserve them from secularizing influences, crass commercialization or even the risk of superstition, and to keep them within sound and authentic forms. This calls for a work of education aimed at explaining how popular piety must always find expression in a way consonant with the Church's liturgy and in relation to the sacraments.

87. There is a need, then, to confront the challenge of unemployment, which in many nations of Europe represents a grave blight on society. To this can be added the problems connected with the increase in migration. The Church is called to remember that labour constitutes a good for which society as a whole must feel responsible. 

While restating the ethical criteria which must guide the marketplace and the economy in scrupulous respect for the centrality of the human person, the Church will not fail to engage in dialogue with persons involved in political life, unions and business.This dialogue should aim at building a Europe seen as a community of peoples and individuals, a community joined together in hope, not exclusively subject to the law of the marketplace but resolutely determined to safeguard the dignity of the human person also in social and economic relations.

Towards a culture of acceptance

100. The challenges presently facing our service of the Gospel of hope include the growing phenomenon of immigration, which calls on the Church's ability to welcome each person regardless of the people or nation to which he or she belongs. This phenomenon is also prompting European society and its institutions as a whole to seek a just order and forms of coexistence capable of respecting everyone, as well as the demands of legality, within a feasible process of integration.

If we consider, among the causes which lead many to leave their own land, the state of extreme poverty, underdevelopment and insufficient freedom which unfortunately still characterizes various countries, there is a need for courageous commitment on the part of all to bring about a more just international economic order capable of promoting the authentic development of every people and country.

101. The phenomenon of migration challenges Europe's ability to provide for forms of intelligent acceptance and hospitality. A «universal» vision of the common good demands this: we need to broaden our gaze to embrace the needs of the entire human family. The phenomenon of globalization itself calls for openness and sharing, if it is not to be a source of exclusion and marginalization, but rather a basis for solidarity and the sharing of all in the production and exchange of goods.

Everyone must work for the growth of a mature culture of acceptance which, in taking into account the equal dignity of each person and need for solidarity with the less fortunate, calls for the recognition of the fundamental rights of each immigrant. Public authorities have the responsibility of controlling waves of migration with a view to the requirements of the common good. The acceptance of immigrants must always respect the norms of law and must therefore be combined, when necessary, with a firm suppression of abuses.

102. There is also a need for commitment in identifying possible forms of genuine integration on the part of immigrants who have been legitimately received into the social and cultural fabric of the different European nations. This demands not yielding to indifference regarding universal human values and a concern for safeguarding the cultural patrimony proper to each nation. Peaceful coexistence and the exchange of mutual interior riches will make it possible to build a Europe capable of becoming a home for everyone, in which each person can be welcomed and none will suffer discrimination, where all people are treated responsibly and can live responsibly as members of a single great family.

103. On her part, the Church is called «to continue her activity in creating and continually improving her services of welcome and her pastoral attention for immigrants and refugees»,in order to ensure respect for their dignity and freedom and to promote their integration.

In particular, specific pastoral care needs to be given to the integration of Catholic immigrants, with respect for their culture and their distinct religious traditions. To this end, contacts should be encouraged between the Churches in their native countries and those to which they have migrated, in order to study forms of assistance which could include the presence among immigrants of priests, consecrated men and women, and properly trained pastoral workers from their own countries.

The service of the Gospel also requires the Church, in defending the cause of the oppressed and excluded, to call on the political authorities of the different States and the leaders of European institutions to grant refugee status to those who have left their country of origin because of threats to their life, to help them return to their countries, and to create conditions favouring respect for the dignity of all immigrants and the defence of their fundamental rights. 

Pour une culture de l'accueil

100. Parmi les défis qui se posent aujourd'hui pour le service de l'Évangile de l'espérance apparaît celui du phénomène croissant de l'immigration, qui interroge l'Église sur sa capacité d'accueillir chaque personne, quel que soit le peuple ou la nation auquel elle appartient. Il incite également toute la société européenne et ses institutions à rechercher un ordre juste et des modes de convivialité respectueux de tous, comme aussi de la législation, en vue d'une éventuelle intégration.

Devant l'état de pauvreté, de sous-développement ou même d'insuffisance de liberté qui, malheureusement, caractérise encore divers pays et qui pousse de nombreuses personnes à abandonner leur terre, se fait sentir le besoin d'un engagement courageux de tous pour la réalisation d'un ordre économique international plus juste, qui soit en mesure de promouvoir l'authentique développement de tous les peuples et de tous les pays.

101. Face au phénomène migratoire, l'Europe est mise au défi de trouver des formes nouvelles et intelligentes d'accueil et d'hospitalité. C'est la vision « universaliste » du bien commun qui l'exige: il faut dilater son regard jusqu'à embrasser les exigences de toute la famille humaine. Le phénomène même de la mondialisation demande ouverture et partage s'il veut être non pas une source d'exclusion et de marginalisation, mais au contraire de participation solidaire de tous à la production et à l'échange des biens.

Chacun doit s'employer à la croissance d'une solide culture de l'accueil qui, tenant compte de l'égale dignité de toute personne et du devoir de solidarité à l'égard des plus faibles, demande que soient reconnus les droits fondamentaux de tout migrant. Il est de la responsabilité des autorités publiques d'exercer un contrôle sur les flux migratoires en fonction des exigences du bien commun. L'accueil doit toujours se réaliser dans le respect des lois et donc se conjuguer, si nécessaire, avec une ferme répression des abus.

102. Il faut également s'employer à découvrir les formes possibles d'une véritable intégration des immigrés légitimement accueillis dans le tissu social et culturel des diverses nations européennes. Cela exige que l'on ne cède pas à l'indifférence à l'égard des valeurs humaines universelles et que l'on soit attentif à sauvegarder le patrimoine culturel propre à chaque nation. Une convivialité pacifique et un échange des richesses intérieures réciproques rendront possible l'édification d'une Europe qui sache être la maison commune, où chacun puisse être accueilli, où nul ne fasse l'objet de discrimination, où tous soient traités et vivent de façon responsable comme membres d'une seule grande famille. 

103. Pour sa part, l'Église est appelée à «continuer son action pour créer et améliorer sans cesse ses services d'accueil et ses attentions pastorales à l'égard des immigrés et des réfugiés», pour faire en sorte que soient respectées leur dignité et leur liberté, et que soit favorisée leur intégration.

On veillera en particulier à assurer une assistance pastorale à l'intégration des immigrés catholiques, en respectant leur culture et l'originalité de leurs traditions religieuses. À cette fin, il est bon de favoriser les contacts entres les Églises d'origine des immigrés et celles qui les accueillent, en vue d'étudier des formes d'aide qui peuvent également prévoir la présence, parmi les immigrés, de prêtres, de personnes consacrées et d'agents pastoraux, convenablement formés, provenant de leur pays.

Le service de l'Évangile exige en outre que l'Église, défendant la cause des opprimés et des exclus, demande aux autorités politiques des divers États et aux responsables des Institutions européennes de reconnaître la condition de réfugié à ceux qui fuient leur pays d'origine en raison de menaces pour leur vie, et aussi de faciliter leur retour dans leur pays, ainsi que de créer les conditions pour que soit respectée la dignité de tous les immigrés et que soient défendus leurs droits fondamentaux.

Hacia una cultura de la acogida

100. Entre los retos que tiene hoy el servicio al Evangelio de la esperanza se debe incluir el creciente fenómeno de la inmigración, que llama en causa la capacidad de la Iglesia para acoger a toda persona, cualquiera que sea su pueblo o nación de pertenencia. Estimula también a toda la sociedad europea y sus instituciones a buscar un orden justo y modos de convivencia respetuosos de todos y de la legalidad, en un proceso de posible integración.

Teniendo en cuenta el estado de miseria, de subdesarrollo o también de insuficiente libertad, que por desgracia caracteriza aún a diversos Países y son algunas de las causas que impulsan a muchos a dejar su propia tierra, es preciso un compromiso valiente por parte de todos para realizar un orden económico internacional más justo, capaz de promover el auténtico desarrollo de todos los pueblos y de todos los Países. 

101. Ante el fenómeno de la inmigración, se plantea en Europa la cuestión de su capacidad para encontrar formas de acogida y hospitalidad inteligentes. Lo exige la visión « universal » del bien común: hace falta ampliar las perspectivas hasta abarcar las exigencias de toda la familia humana. El fenómeno mismo de la globalización reclama apertura y participación, si no quiere ser origen de exclusión y marginación sino más bien de participación solidaria de todos en la producción e intercambio de bienes.

Todos han de colaborar en el crecimiento de una cultura madura de la acogida que, teniendo en cuenta la igual dignidad de cada persona y la obligada solidaridad con los más débiles, exige que se reconozca a todo migrante los derechos fundamentales. A las autoridades públicas corresponde la responsabilidad de ejercer el control de los flujos migratorios considerando las exigencias del bien común. La acogida debe realizarse siempre respetando las leyes y, por tanto, armonizarse, cuando fuere necesario, con la firme represión de los abusos.

102. También es necesario tratar de individuar posibles formas de auténtica integración de los inmigrados acogidos legítimamente en el tejido social y cultural de las diversas naciones europeas. 

Esto exige que no se ceda a la indiferencia sobre los valores humanos universales y que se salvaguarde el propio patrimonio cultural de cada nación. Una convivencia pacífica y un intercambio de la propia riqueza interior harán posible la edificación de una Europa que sepa ser casa común, en la que cada uno sea acogido, nadie se vea discriminado y todos sean tratados, y vivan responsablemente, como miembros de una sola gran familia. 

103. Por su parte, la Iglesia está llamada a « continuar su actividad, creando y mejorando cada vez más sus servicios de acogida y su atención pastoral con los inmigrados y refugiados », para que se respeten su dignidad y libertad, y se favorezca su integración.

En particular, no se debe olvidar una atención pastoral específica a la integración de los inmigrantes católicos, respetando su cultura y la peculiaridad de su tradición religiosa. Para ello se han de favorecer contactos entre las Iglesias de origen de los inmigrados y las que los acogen, con el fin de estudiar formas de ayuda que pueden prever también la presencia entre los inmigrados de presbíteros, consagrados y agentes de pastoral, adecuadamente formados, procedentes de sus países.

El servicio al Evangelio exige, además, que la Iglesia, defendiendo la causa de los oprimidos y excluidos, pida a las autoridades políticas de los diversos Estados y a los responsables de las Instituciones europeas que reconozcan la condición de refugiados a los que huyen del propio país de origen por estar en peligro su vida, y favorezcan el retorno a su patria; y que se creen, además, la condiciones necesarias para que se respete la dignidad de todos los inmigrados y se defiendan sus derechos fundamentales.

 Promoting solidarity and peace in the world

111. Saying «Europe» must be equivalent to saying «openness». Despite experiences and signs to the contrary, which it has not lacked, European history itself demands this: «Europe is really not a closed or isolated territory; it has been built by expanding overseas and meeting other peoples, other cultures, other civilizations».Therefore it needs to be an open and welcoming Continent, continuing to develop in the current process of globalization forms of cooperation which are not merely economic but social and cultural as well.

There is one need to which Europe must respond positively if it is to have a truly new face: «Europe cannot close in on itself. It cannot and must not lose interest in the rest of the world… To carry out this mission adequately will demand «rethinking international cooperation in terms of a new culture of solidarity. When seen as a sowing of peace, cooperation cannot be reduced to aid or assistance, especially if given with an eye to the benefits to be received in return for the resources made available. Rather, it must express a concrete and tangible commitment to solidarity which makes the poor the agents of their own development and enables the greatest number of people, in their specific economic and political circumstances, to exercise the creativity which is characteristic of the human person and on which the wealth of nations too is dependent».

115. The European institutions have as their declared purpose the defence of the rights of the human person. In carrying out this task they contribute to the building of the Europe of values and of law. The Synod Fathers called upon the leaders of Europe in the following words: «Raise your voices in the face of the violation of human rights of individuals, minorities and peoples, beginning with the right to religious freedom; pay utmost attention to everything that concerns human life from the moment of its conception to natural death and to the family based on marriage: these are the foundations on which our common European home rests; ... respond, with justice and equity and with a great sense of solidarity, to the growing phenomenon of migration, and see in it a new resource for the future of Europe; make every effort to guarantee young people a truly humane future with work, culture, and education in moral and spiritual values».

L’Osservatore Romano(English Edition) N. 27 (1800), 2 July 2003, p. I

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