"The Lord is calling us to be set free from indifference"

Today the Vatican released the text of the Holy Father’s remarks for the 2019 World Day of Migrants and Refugees, and they illustrate the cohesiveness of the Church’s teaching on human life and dignity. Throughout his pontificate Pope Francis has urged Catholics to push back against throwaway culture, and he reiterates that exhortation here. A culture that regards human life as disposable is a culture in which abortion may seem purely logical. In the same way, immersion in a throwaway culture can lead us to disregard or downplay the needs of migrants and refugees. The Holy Father’s comments are especially relevant in the context of the crisis at the US southern border:

The most economically advanced societies are witnessing a growing trend towards extreme individualism which, combined with a utilitarian mentality and reinforced by the media, is producing a “globalization of indifference”. In this scenario, migrants, refugees, displaced persons and victims of trafficking have become emblems of exclusion. In addition to the hardships that their condition entails, they are often looked down upon and considered the source of all society’s ills.

In his remarks the Holy Father touched on the crippling impact of fear. Many of us have known women whose fears led them to consider abortion: fear of financial uncertainty or relationship instability, or fear about meeting the needs of a child with a disability. Pope Francis points out that our fears can also prevent us from encountering Christ in the guise of a migrant or a refugee. Some fear of the unknown is normal, he acknowledges, just as it’s normal to feel a little trepidation at the thought of bringing a new life into the world. The central question is what we will do with our fears. “The problem,” the Pope asserts, “is when [our fears] condition our way of thinking and acting to the point of making us intolerant, closed and perhaps even – without realizing it – racist.”

Let’s ask Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the unborn and patroness of the Americas, to intercede for us as we strive to protect human life and dignity — for the unborn, for all migrants and refugees, and especially for the children waiting at our southern border.

The remarks conclude with an encouragement to allow migrants and refugees to draw us closer to the Lord:

Through [migrants], the Lord is calling us to conversion, to be set free from exclusivity, indifference and the throw-away culture. Through them, the Lord invites us to embrace fully our Christian life and to contribute, each according to his or her proper vocation, to the building up of a world that is more and more in accord with God’s plan.

Image from Wikimedia Commons