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“La maldad y la fealdad de nuestro tiempo acrecienta nuestro miedo a los ‘otros’, a los desconocidos, a los marginados, a los forasteros”, y así muchos migrantes que buscan una vida mejor terminan siendo objeto de esta maldad, expresó el Papa Francisco en su mensaje para la Jornada Mundial del Migrante y del Refugiado 2019.

El Santo Padre advirtió que cuando permitimos que los miedos y las dudas condicionen “nuestra forma de pensar y de actuar hasta el punto de convertirnos en seres intolerantes, cerrados y quizás, sin darnos cuenta, incluso racistas”, hay un problema grave. De esta manera, “el miedo nos priva así del deseo y de la capacidad de encuentro con el otro, con aquel que es diferente; nos priva de una oportunidad de encuentro con el Señor”.

Esta maravillosa idea de un verdadero encuentro con el Señor, y con todos los demás, es una de las grandes prioridades del Papa Francisco. Él trata de inspirarnos a edificar no barreras personales ni muros nacionales, sino una “cultura de encuentro”.

Se han difundido muchas mentiras sobre los migrantes y refugiados —que son asesinos, violadores y criminales de todo tipo. Pero numerosos estudios señalan lo contrario.

La gran mayoría es buena; son seres humanos decentes que pagan impuestos prácticamente sin disfrutar beneficios. Realizan los trabajos que la mayoría de los ciudadanos no harán, como la faena agotadora de recoger nuestras verduras y frutas, lavar platos y embellecer jardines. Además, agregan una vitalidad fresca a nuestros pueblos, ciudades y parroquias. ¡Nos necesitan y los necesitamos! De esto se trata la “cultura del encuentro” del Papa Francisco.

“El progreso de nuestros pueblos [...] depende sobre todo de la capacidad de dejarse conmover por quien llama a la puerta y con su mirada estigmatiza y depone a todos los falsos ídolos que hipotecan y esclavizan la vida; ídolos que prometen una aparente y fugaz felicidad, construida al margen de la realidad y del sufrimiento de los demás”.

En lugar de edificar la acogedora “cultura del encuentro” del Papa Francisco, varios países europeos, incluidos Bulgaria, Hungría, Eslovenia, Macedonia, Austria y Francia (financiado por el Reino Unido) han construido barreras para evitar la entrada de personas que huyen de los conflictos armados y la pobreza terrible (https://bit.ly/2Wymttf).

Y la determinación de la administración de Trump en los EE. UU. de alargar el muro en la frontera mexicana, y su política de “cero tolerancia” —la intensificación de aprensiones y detenciones de migrantes y refugiados que a menudo huyen de conflictos armados y de la violencia de las bandas de narcotraficantes, los juicios penales estilo “línea de ensamblaje” masivas, las sentencias de cárcel y la deportación hacia la violencia de la que huían los refugiados— está causando un sufrimiento incalculable.

He estado en la frontera entre Estados Unidos y México en el sur de Arizona, y he tocado “El Muro”, la barrera de acero de aproximadamente 25 pies de altura que impide que los mexicanos ingresen a los Estados Unidos. Parece y se siente impía. Miles de refugiados y migrantes han muerto al caminar lejos alrededor del muro y atravesar el implacable desierto de Sonora de Arizona.

Joanna Williams, directora de educación y defensa de la Iniciativa Kino para la Frontera, dirigida por católicos y ubicada cerca de la frontera en Nogales, México (www.kinoborderinitiative.org), me dijo que a los solicitantes de asilo los devuelven cuando tratan de entregarse al Sistema de Aduanas y Protección de Fronteras de los Estados Unidos en los puertos de entrada, y tienen que esperar durante muchas semanas o meses antes de tener la oportunidad de solicitar tan siquiera el asilo.

Lean en oración el mensaje del Santo Padre para la Jornada Mundial del Migrante y del Refugiado (http://bit.ly/JMMR2019). Es muy probable que les inspire a estar en contra de la maldad y a favor de nuestros hermanos y hermanas desesperados que llaman a las puertas de nuestras naciones rogando por la bondad cristiana.

Comments from readers

Jorge Barbontin - 09/25/2019 06:48 PM
Robert - I will pray for you that our Lord may soften your heart. I agree with the argument, people should wait in line but unfortunately, the entire system has been usurped by people with other agendas with viewpoints of the "other", not in keeping with our Catholic faith in my personal view. We need a holistic approach that is not even being discussed. The link below describes how our legal immigration system has been hijacked. I would encourage you to look at it. https://youtu.be/tXqnRMU1fTs Respectfully
Charles - 09/24/2019 10:37 PM
Hello Tony. I wish to respond to your article. I've read Pope Francis' World Day of Migrants letter that you provided in the link. Much of what Pope Francis indicates is true, that our advanced economies have fueled a growth of individualism, greed and neglect of the poor including migrants and refugees. But in order to understand where Pope Francis is going on this, clearly, I agree with Robert that our Pope, the hierarchy and many of the overall Catholic population do not examine the proper ways of immigration to the United States. But I wish to say that when migration or immigration overwhelms a particular nation or region, then the question has to be asked, what or really, who as persons and/or groups are causing mass migration of persons to flee to our country and other nations and why they're doing this ruining millions of lives? Ultimately, there's got to be the spiritual warfare in all this; the attack on the human family is what we are seeing; poverty, migration, low wages etc,. I would therefore, suggest an economic system most Catholics do not know about that can help. I have replied to posts before in regards to economics from a Catholic perspective. I have suggested Distributism, or the economic concept suggested by Pope Leo XIII, GK Chesterton and Hillaire Belloc. It's about the widespread use of productive private property and more ownership of it. If governments want to value their citizens, then they need to focus on more domestic economies thereby reducing the problems of poverty and migration but rediscovery of the dignity of the human person and family. Easier said then done, Migration is nothing new, it is always part of mankind. Even St. Joseph had to take the baby Jesus and with Mary to Egypt to escape from King Herod. Lastly, I would suggest that Catholics pray for Pope Francis to change his way of thinking and consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary as well as telling us Catholics to repent and amend our lives.
HECTOR GONZALEZ - 09/24/2019 10:12 PM
people coming from outside a society are always rejected (consciously or unconsciously) by the native people, because the migrant people are different, speaks and think in a different way, and we do not want to be disturbed in our daily life and work. It is a "natural" way of behaving. The Rhine and the Danube were the borders of the Roman Empire when our ancestor crossed the border and Europe was born. Indians from North America and South America witnessed the same episode of being invaded by people from Europe. With a calmed soul we have to find solution to the same situation in our present World. Do not believe that by closing the door the problem is over. We are facing a Historical change in Societies. The South World is knocking at our doors. We need great souls not petits esprits..to find a common policy to a common situation. A new World is at the edge of being born.
Dan Gorman - 09/23/2019 02:08 PM
I wonder how many undocumented immigrants Pope Francis would welcome into Vatican City? Or how many Church facilities in Rome have been opened to asylum seeking refuges? Whatever the character of the immigrants, open boarders are a prescription for chaos and the ultimate disappearance of a nation that has been more welcoming and generous to immigrants than any nation in the world. Legal immigration and proven need for asylum are essential to any union that calls itself a nation.
Robert Gonzalez - 09/23/2019 12:14 PM
As the son of immigrants from Europe and South America who came to the USA in the 20's and the husband of a wife who came to the USA in 1961 as a refugee from Communist Cuba (all of them entered legally and all became citizens of the USA), I am very aware of the plight of those who would like to benefit from the freedom and opportunities offered by our very unique and wonderful country. I agree with the condemnation of meanness that is expressed by too many of our vocal citizens. However, what I fail to hear from our Church and our fellow Catholics is an understanding that there is a proper way to seek entry into our country. I compare those who try to enter by rushing the various weak points in our boarders, climbing over fences and walls, to anyone who tries to jump the line of those who wait patiently to enter the correct way. If you were in a long line at the DMV or at your local supermarket and a bunch of people decide that they do not want to wait, but simply push their way into the head of the line, would you be willing to stand by and defend that type of rudeness and call for others to be tolerant and permissive. I really doubt it! There are thousands of immigrants who are waiting patiently for permission to enter. Why should they be punished by the acts of those who do not wish to wait? We must have strong borders or we will not have a strong country. Secondly, how would you feel if you were away on vacation only to return home to find that strangers had moved into your home through a poorly locked door, not only moved in but have added themselves to your medical insurance policy, enrolled their children in your local schools and eaten your food. Please do not confuse Christian charity with tolerance for unlawfulness. This response is NOT a defense of meanness, it is a call for clarity of the misleading contention that our current government is anti-immigrant. We have always been and will always be welcoming of those who legally immigrate to our country.

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