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About 500,000 refugees could be helped by Pope Francis' proposal

2015-09-07

Pope Francis' call for all European parishes and other religious institutions to house refugees would require a massive mobilization on the Old Continent.

CARD. ANTONIO MARIA VEGLIÒ
President, Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People
"There are about 750 dioceses in Europe approximately. And if every parish received a family, at least half a million migrants would be helped. It is a huge number.”

The Vatican department charged with caring for immigrants and itinerants is studying how to actually carry out Pope Francis' proposal. He suggested the first step would be to explain the message to the bishops and their dioceses.

CARD. ANTONIO MARIA VEGLIÒ
President, Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People
"The Pope's appeal really is revolutionary. Because it helps people to understand that this isn't a distant problem where they shouldn't be part of the solution. It's something that everyone has to help resolve.”

The principal obstacle would be practical bureaucratic concerns. In the first place, the refugees would have to be accepted by the state that the specific church is in. And the actual size of the ambition is enormous.

CARD. ANTONIO MARIA VEGLIÒ
President, Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People
"I hope that this idea can be realized but there are government aspects that don't depend on the Church. I do not believe that it is as simple as a parish finding a family and saying, 'Come to our parish.' Who would make that decision? How do you do that?”

While it's unclear if it can actually happen on a broader scale, Pope Francis has already announced that two parishes in the Vatican will set an example by supporting two families. They will not only give them a roof over their heads and a job to integrate them into society, but above all, dignity.


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