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Pope visits university: Do not be afraid of migrants. Welcome them.

2017-02-17

For a few hours, Pope Francis became a professor at this Roman university. Although many teachers and students went out to greet him, there were more than just students among them.

"Is he a student?"

The Pope took dozens of selfies before beginning his lesson.

Then, four students asked questions. One was this Syrian refugee who the pope brought back from the Greek island of Lesbos. She's a microbiologist, and now researches at the university. She asked about the fear of refugees.

"Do you think migrants threaten the Christian culture of Europe?"

The pope recalled that the attacks in Brussels were committed by young people born in Europe, but who had not been integrated. He also recalled that one in ten Swedes is an emigrant, or the son of emigrants, but that they are perfectly integrated.

POPE FRANCIS
"When there is welcome, and they are accompanied and integrated, there is no danger. With migration, one culture is received and another culture is offered. This is my response to fear."
"Because there is war, and they escape war; or there is hunger and they escape hunger. What would be the ideal solution? That there is no war or no hunger. That is, make peace, or bring investments in those places so that they have resources to work and make a living. But if there is hunger, they escape.”

Pope Francis also spoke on global politics and asked that the tone of public debate be changed in order to promote dialogue.

"What "medicines” exist to contrast violent attitudes?"

POPE FRANCIS
"It's true, there is an air of violence in our cities. The rush and pace of life also make us violent at home. And many times we forget, at home, to say good morning. We say "Hi, hi...”; these anonymous greetings. Violence is a process that makes us increasingly anonymous. It takes your name away."
"In a society where politics has been degraded so much - I refer to the world society, not only here, to everything- it loses the sense of social construction, of social coexistence. And social coexistence is done with dialogue. And before dialogue, listen.”

It was his first visit to a Roman university. And the students, besides taking note of their class, took the opportunity to take dozens of photos with him, or to embrace him. 

It was not an easy visit. Nine years ago, Pope Benedict XVI had to cancel his visit to another university in Rome because a group of professors protested the visit.

Perhaps they could follow Pope Francis' advice to "listen to others”, so the university becomes a place where dialogue can happen. 


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