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Pope: Welcome, Protect, Promote and Integrate Refugees

Pope Francis stressed that addressing the global refugee crisis requires an urgent, coordinated response based on four verbs: welcome, protect, promote and integrate.

Fear, indifference and rejection of refugees is “rooted ultimately in self-centeredness and amplified by populist rhetoric,” he asserted during his Feb. 21 address at the International Forum on Migration and Peace.

Citing God’s question to Cain in Genesis 4:9 – “Where is your brother?” – Francis stressed that each of us is continually faced with this question, “especially today with regard to our brothers and sisters who are migrating.”

The pope urged “a responsible and dignified welcome” of those in need, noting that protection is a “moral imperative” that must be united with “the promotion of an integral human development of migrants, exiles and refugees.”

Integration is the final step, he explained, “which is neither assimilation nor incorporation, is a two-way process, rooted essentially in the joint recognition of the other’s cultural richness.”

These four verbs set forth for Christians “a duty of justice, of civility and of solidarity,” Francis said, which requires addressing economic inequality and recognizing our common humanity and interrelatedness.

An English transcript of the speech is available here. A video recording is available here.