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World

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Vatican

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Pope Francis

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Refugee Crisis: Pope calls for respect and mercy for immigrants

2015-10-01

Massive immigration is a reality that's on the rise. Every day, refugees from the Middle East are trying to make their way to Europe. It's an international challenge that's seen in other world borders as well. From the U.S to Asia. 

With this ongoing crisis, the Vatican announced the Pope's message for the next World Day of Migrants. It's titled: Migrants and Refugees Challenge Us. The Response of the Gospel of Mercy. 

CARD. ANTONIO VEGLIO
Pontifical Council for Migrants and Refugees 
"If we start arguing about it, nothing will get done. We need to start talking about the issue with our hearts and with mercy. This is what the Pope wants to highlight, precisely during the Year of Mercy.” 

Cardinal Veglió is the President of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Migrants and Refugees. He recognizes that there are no simple solutions to the immigration crisis, especially when it's triggered by war, conflict and persecution. 

But concrete answers are needed. A perfect example, he said, is the Pope's call to have Catholic parishes house refugees.  It's a call the Vatican has answered directly, by housing two refugee families. 

POPE FRANCIS
September 6, 2015
"May every parish, religious community, monastery and every shrine of Europe house one family.”

In the first half of 2015, an estimated 170,000 refugees petitioned for asylum in Germany. In Hungary more than 65,000 and in Sweden close to 29,000. 

It's an issue that's very dear to the Pope.  He himself is the son of Italian immigrants. In his speeches at home and abroad, he has called on government leaders to do their part in easing the crisis and dealing with the reality of the situation.

CARD. ANTONIO VEGLIO
Pontifical Council for Migrants and Refugees 
"A few years back, if 50,000 immigrants arrived in Italy it was considered a lot. This year,  in Italy alone, more than 150,000 immigrants have arrived-- and that's just in Italy. In Europe, an estimated 600,000 people made it to the continent-and we still have three more months left in the year.” 

The World Day of Migrants and Refugees will take place on January 17, 2016. Just over a month after the Pope launches the Jubilee Year of Mercy. 


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