The Vatican

The right not to emigrate, and communities to integrate, two of Francis' appeals

After his arrival from Marseille, from where he sent a message to Europe to welcome and integrate migrants, Pope Francis reiterated at the Angelus this Sunday the right of people not to emigrate, and the importance of creating communities ready to welcome, promote, accompany and integrate those who knock on our doors.

Francisco Otamendi-September 24, 2023-Reading time: 3 minutes
Papa Marseille

Pope Francis during his trip to Marseille (CNS photo / Vatican Media)

"Today we celebrate the World Day of Migrants and Refugeeson the subject Free to choose whether to migrate or to stayThe Holy Father began by saying in his address to the Pope that "emigration should be a free choice, and never the only possible choice". Angelus

"The right to emigrate has been transformed today, in fact, into an obligation, while there should be a right not to emigrate, to stay in one's own land. It is necessary that every man, every woman, be guaranteed the possibility of living a dignified life in the society in which he or she finds him or herself," the Pope pointed out. 

"Unfortunately, misery, wars and climate crises force so many people to flee. This is why we are all called to create communities ready to welcome and promote, accompany and integrate those who knock at our doors," Francis encourages.

"This challenge has been the focus of the Mediterranean Meetings the last few days in Marseilles, in the concluding session of which I participated yesterday, on my way to that city, a crossroads of peoples and cultures". 

Among other messages, Pope Francis encouraged participants and authorities in the French city to contribute to making the Mediterranean region "the beginning and the foundation of peace among all the nations of the world".

Fraternity and welcome in Europe

The Mediterranean is a "mirror of the world" and "carries within itself a global vocation of fraternity, the only way to prevent and overcome conflicts," the Holy Father added. "And then, there is a cry of pain that is the most resounding of all, and that is turning the mare nostrum into mare mortuum, the Mediterranean from the cradle of civilization into the tomb of dignity". 

In the final sessionThe Pope referred to the "terrible scourge of the exploitation of human beings", and indicated that "the solution is not to reject, but to guarantee, to the extent of one's possibilities, a large number of legal and regular entries, sustainable thanks to a fair reception by the European continent, within the framework of cooperation with the countries of origin". 

Parable of the day laborers, "God calls us".

Before the Angelus prayer, the Holy Father commented this Sunday on the parabola of the day laborers who are called at different times of the day to work in the vineyard, and the owner pays them the same remuneration. 

Francis affirmed that "the parable is surprising", and that it could seem an injustice, but he stressed that the Lord wants to show us the criteria of God, who "does not calculate our merits, but loves us as sons".

"He pays everyone the same coin. His love. "God goes out at all hours to call us, He went out at dawn. He looks for us and waits for us always. God loves us and that is enough," Francis pointed out. 

"Such is God. He does not wait for our efforts to come to us. He takes the initiative, he goes out to us to show us his love at every hour of the day, which, as St. Gregory the Great affirms, represents all the phases and seasons of our life until old age.

"To your heart, it is never too late. Let us not forget. He is always looking for us. Human justice is to give to each his own, while God's justice does not measure love in the scales of our yields and our failures. God loves us and that is enough. He does so because we are his children and with an unconditional love, a gratuitous love", the Roman Pontiff emphasized. 

"Sometimes we run the risk of having a mercantile relationship with God, focusing more on our own goodness than on the generosity of his grace. As a Church, too, we must go out at all hours of the day and reach out to everyone. We can feel that we are at the head of the class, without thinking that God also loves those farthest away, with the same love that he has for us. 

"Finally, he asked, as he usually does, if we know how to "go out to others" and if we are "generous in giving understanding and forgiveness as Jesus teaches us and does every day with me". "May Our Lady help us to convert to the measure of God, that of a love without measure".

Saturday Ecumenical Prayer Vigil

At the end, the Pope thanked the bishops of the Italian Episcopal Conference for their work, "who do everything to help our emigrant brothers and sisters", and greeted the Romans and pilgrims from so many countries, in particular the international diocesan seminary Redemptoris Mater in Cologne, Germany, and the group of people affected by the rare disease called Ataxia, with their families".
Francis has invited to participate in the Ecumenical Prayer Vigil on Saturday, October 30, in St. Peter's Square, in preparation for the Synodal Assembly that will begin on October 4, and recalled "the martyred Ukraine. Let us pray for these people who suffer so much," the Pope prayed.

The authorFrancisco Otamendi

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