Last week I mentioned that nearly a year ago now, I read an article about Pope Francis’ thoughts about our worldwide refugee crisis where he called for us all to embrace four verbs as our shared response: to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate. These four actions are so integral to a Christian response to our brothers and sisters in crisis, so reflective of the call to be imitators of Jesus, that I think they each are worth exploring a bit given what is happening now.
This week, a look at the second verb, to protect. In a perfect world, the lives of people would be protected in their homelands. We are all called to recognize our world as a global community and work for justice everywhere. But when people cannot survive in their own homes, Catholic social teaching has always affirmed the right to migration. While it can be a tricky balance to honor both the right to migration and the right for any country to protect its borders, fear cannot drive our immigration policy. In particular, Francis insists that children must not be detained because of their migratory status and also that they should be guaranteed the right to remain when they come of age. Above all, we must respect the human dignity of all, no matter what country they call home.
Next week, the third verb, to promote.