2-September-2008 -- Catholic World News Brief |

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Address "Emergency" of Illegal Immigration, Pope Urges

Castel Gandolfo, Sep. 1, 2008 (CWNews.com) - At his midday audience on Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI urged international leaders to address the "emergency" of illegal immigration.

In his remarks to several thousand people who had gathered in the courtyard of the summer papal residence at Castel Gandolfo, the Holy Father spoke particularly about the immigrants traveling from Africa to Europe. But he broadened his remarks to include all countries affected by today's unprecedented volume of migration.

People have moved from country to country "since the dawn of human history," the Pope remarked. But the scope of the phenomenon today has made migration an issue that must be confronted.

While the refugees who are fleeing "unsustainable" situations in their native lands deserve our sympathy and solidarity, the Pope continued, the situation also requires an "effective policy response." The countries to which illegal immigrants are traveling should develop means of accommodating their needs and protecting their fundamental rights, the Pope said. At the same time, he challenged the immigrants' countries of origin to show "a sense of accountability" for the problem and to "address and remove the cause of illegal immigration."

The Pope's remarks-- which were a general call to address the problem of immigration, rather than a blueprint for any specific solution-- came after his comments on the day's Gospel reading, in which Jesus rebukes Peter for "a faith that is still immature and rited to the thinking of this world." Peter, following ordinary human logic, assumes that "God would never allow his Son to end his mission by dying on the Cross," the Pope said. Jesus, however, knows that his Crucifixion is a fixed part of the divine plan.

Peter, the Pope continued, is motivated by "good faith and sincere love for the Master." But because he sees things only from a human perspective, his words to Jesus take the form of "a temptation: an invitation to save Himself, when it is only by sacrificing his life that he receives new and eternal life for us all."

Without the Cross there can be no Resurrection, the Pope observed. And Jesus knows that "the Resurrection will be the final word," the resolution of all human problems. Pope Benedict concluded his meditation on the Gospel by urging the faithful to embrace the Cross in this own lives, and thus unite themselves to Christ as He "brings to completion the work of salvation."

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