EUROPE/SPAIN - Letter from Cardinal Antonio Cañizares:"Let us not harden our hearts in the face of migrants and refugees"

Friday, 25 September 2020 emigration   local churches  

Arquidiocesis Valencia

Valencia (Agenzia Fides) - "The scenes that come to mind, the situations we see or imagine are tremendous, terrible and affect our conscience. It is a dramatic situation that makes us reflect and prevents us from crossing our arms", underlines Cardinal Antonio Cañizares, Archbishop of Valencia, in the pastoral letter sent to Fides, published on the occasion of the 106th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, which is celebrated on Sunday 27 September. "It is true that there have always been migrations - he continues -. Even if now the migratory movements of these times are so alarming in the West, especially Europe. Today migrations have new characteristics and present a very specific problem, very varied and complex, full of profound drama and profound repercussions". "Let us not harden our hearts in the face of migrants and refugees: let us open ourselves to them, brothers who come from afar" is the title of the letter, which states: "They challenge us again this year and, if possible even more, in the face of the emergency of the Covid-19 pandemic: migrants, refugees, persecuted, our brothers who look to our European countries as the solution to their immense problems of hunger, lack of the hygienic and health needs in their respective countries, in order to live with their families with decency and dignity in their countries of origin. We must also add the lack of freedom they are subjected to in their lands which they have to abandon and even the terrible persecutions for their faith".
An answer is suggested by the message of the Holy Father, says the Archbishop of Valencia: "To welcome them, integrate them, protect them and promote them, cordially and effectively, so that they feel recognized in all their dignity as brothers, and for us to feel truly in solidarity with those who suffer in their flesh the effects of marginalization and poverty".
According to data from Caritas of the archdiocese of Valencia, in 2019 Caritas assisted 30 thousand migrants, of whom 61% are foreigners. In addition, the welcome program in their homes indicates that there are families of 20 nationalities from Latin America, Africa, Eastern Europe and the Middle East.
The Spanish Bishops' Conference, through the Episcopal Subcommittee for Migration and Human Mobility, underlined, in a message signed by its Bishops, that this World Day seeks to give vulnerable people a face, "saving them from anonymous lists of figures". It also points out how much it is also necessary to "raise awareness in Spanish society to guarantee the rights of human dignity to all people forced to move". (CE) (Agenzia Fides, 25/9/2020)