Friday, November 6, 2009

Some Notes on 6th World Congress for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Refugees

Official: Catholics Need New Perspective on Migrants
Reflects on Circulation of People, Consequence of Globalization
VATICAN CITY, NOV. 3, 2009 ( Globalization is not just about economics; it is also about the human person, and thus challenges us to a "radical change in perspective," says one Vatican official.

Archbishop Antonio Vegliò, president of the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers, spoke of this challenge today when he announced the upcoming conference hosted by this dicastery.

The archbishop said the risk today is for the discussion on globalization to be seen "almost exclusively with reference to the economic-financial sphere, characterized by the amount of international aid and the degree of trade liberalization."

"But," he said, "we know, as Christians, that life's core is fundamentally spiritual and that the challenge is how to promote and safeguard every human person, preferring the most vulnerable, precisely people like, among others, migrants and refugees."

The pontifical council conference will be the sixth of its kind. It is scheduled for next Monday through Thursday, and will consider the theme: "A pastoral response to the phenomenon of migration in the era of globalization. Five years after the Instruction 'Erga Migrantes Caritas Christi.'"

Archbishop Vegliò said the challenge in a globalized society is "to make a radical change in perspective, by making a clear 'choice for the human person,' giving them back the place that God has assigned to them within the one family of peoples, 'image and likeness' of the Creator."


The Vatican official suggested that this perspective change is made concrete in relation to migrants in "the value of welcome."

He said this value is carried out with respect for persons of different nationalities, ethnicities and religions, and "contributes to rendering visible the authentic physiognomy of the Church itself."

"The Church," the archbishop affirmed, "is close to migrants, especially to the victims of human trafficking, to refugees, to asylum seekers, and to the people who suffer the tragedy of human mobility."

This closeness translates into defending the cause of migrants, he added, "also through a collaboration in promoting adequate laws, at the local and international levels, that favor proper integration."

Moving Money, People and the Earth's Goods
Migrants Council to Look at Globalization
VATICAN CITY, NOV. 3, 2009 ( Globalization has brought about the international circulation of money, but human persons are still not free to circulate, the president of the Vatican's migrant council observed.

Archbishop Antonio Vegliò noted the "walls of national boundaries" today when he presented the 6th World Congress for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Refugees.

The conference is scheduled for next Monday through Thursday, and will consider the theme:"A pastoral response to the phenomenon of migration in the era of globalization. Five years after the Instruction 'Erga Migrantes Caritas Christi.'"

During the presentation, the archbishop reflected: "[G]lobalization has created a new labor market and, consequently, pushed many to emigrate, also to flee from poverty, misery, natural catastrophes and local and international conflicts, as well as from political or religious persecution. This has opened markets to international intervention, but it has not torn down the walls of national boundaries to allow the free circulation of people, with due respect for the sovereignty of states and their constitutional charters, safeguarding legality and security.

"The migration phenomenon, therefore, 'raises a truly ethical question: the search for a new international economic order for a more equitable distribution of the goods of the earth.'"

Participants in the conference will consider these themes from a variety of areas of expertise.

There will be 14 main speakers, including Senator Giuseppe Schifani, president of the Italian Senate; William Lacy Swing, director-general of the International Organization for Migration; Laurens Jolles, regional representative for Europe of the U.N. High Commissioners Office for Refugees; and Jesuit Father Pierre Martinot-Lagarde, special adviser for Socio-Religious Affairs and Special Partnerships of the International Labor Organizaton.

In addition to 53 prelates, representatives of men and women religious, and national and international bishops' conferences, there will also be delegates representing the Orthodox, Anglicans and Lutherans.
Subsidiarity a "New Approach" for Migration Issue
Prelate Recalls Fundamental Principles
ATHENS, Greece, NOV. 4, 2009 ( The secretary of the Vatican's migration council is proposing the principle of subsidiarity as a suggestion for new approaches in the complex issue of migration.

Archbishop Agostino Marchetto spoke of this and other principles of social doctrine when he addressed today a forum on migration and development under way through Thursday in Athens.

Before all, he affirmed that "a correct approach to the management of this phenomenon should first of all consider the migrant as a human person who, as such, is endowed with inalienable rights, which everyone must respect under all circumstances."

Then the prelate cited Benedict XVI in affirming that justice and the common good are two criteria "applicable to that manifestation of globalization which is the macro-phenomenon of migration."

Archbishop Marchetto observed how the Pope refers constantly to solidarity in his encyclical "Caritas in Veritate."

He further proposed that a "new approach in facing these problems can be suggested by the criterion of subsidiarity which, in our sphere, requires the involvement of all actors in the management of migration, at all levels, and at the same time the recognition, where possible, of the rightful autonomy of intermediate bodies -- communities in diaspora, association of migrants, of their families, etc."

Subsidiarity needs to always be accompanied by its sister principle of solidarity, however, "so that the former may not fall into social 'particularism' nor the latter deteriorate into 'assistentialism,' which humiliates the needy," he said.

The Vatican official also highlighted the importance of cultural integration for immigrants.

"We know that the relationship between cultures always have an effect also on the economic field," he said. "In the encyclical itself, Pope Benedict XVI calls to mind that 'the reduction of cultures to the technological dimension, even if it favors short-term profits, in the long term impedes reciprocal enrichment and the dynamics of cooperation' inasmuch as 'workers tend to adapt passively to automatic mechanisms, rather than to release creativity' and points out that technological development is precisely produced 'through human creativity as a tool of personal freedom.'"

Migration is an issue that is bigger than any one nation, the archbishop acknowledged, and proposed in concluding that it be faced globally, with the "recognition that the human race is a single family working together in true communion, not simply a group of subjects who happen to live side by side."

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