Pope Francis has said European countries must “find the right balance between its two-fold moral responsibility” to protect its citizens from terrorism and welcome migrants and refugees.
The Pope’s comments came in his annual address to the diplomatic corps in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican.
He said the “immense influx” of migrants to Europe from Asia and Africa “raised questions” about security and “the cultural and social structures of the receiving countries”.
“The massive number of arrivals on the shores of Europe appear to be overburdening the system of reception painstakingly built on the ashes of the Second World War, a system that is still an acknowledged beacon of humanity,” Pope Francis said.
“Given the immense influx and the inevitable problems it creates, a number of questions have be raised about the real possibilities for accepting and accommodating people, about changes in the cultural and social structures of the receiving countries, and about the reshaping of certain regional geopolitical balances.
“Equally significant are fears about security, further exacerbated by the growing threat of international terrorism. The present wave of migration seems to be undermining the foundations of that ‘humanistic spirit’ which Europe has always loved and defended.”
However, he added that there should be “no loss of the values and principles of humanity, respect for the dignity of every person, mutual subsidiarity and solidarity, however much they may prove, in some moments of history, a burden difficult to bear”.
Archbishop: giving power to local churches ‘very risky’
The idea of delegating more power to bishops’ conferences is “extremely risky”, according to Archbishop Emeritus André Léonard of Mechelen-Brussels.
“That is not a good idea,” he told the French weekly Famille chrétienne. “I find it hard to see how discipline could be modulated from one country to another or from one continent to another. I would find it extremely risky for Western countries to be allowed a more flexible discipline. What sort of image would that give of the Church? Would Christians from richer countries, besides the greater comforts that most of them enjoy, also benefit from a more comfortable discipline? It would be a great scandal.”
The ambiguity that came from the synod on the family was also “very risky”, he said.
“There are good things in the final [synod] text, but I was a bit disappointed by the fact that they cultivated ambiguity around the most sensitive issues. Some bishops told me the texts were deliberately formulated in an ambiguous way, in order to leave them open to interpretation in different directions. Such ambiguity on key issues is very risky, as it could give way to practices that would be very difficult to reverse once they had been instituted,” he said.
Babies baptised in Sistine Chapel
francis baptised 26 babies during Mass in the Sistine Chapel on Sunday to mark the feast day of Jesus’s baptism in the River Jordan.
In his homily the Pope urged parents to nurture their children’s faith. “Don’t forget that the greatest inheritance you can give to your children is the faith. Try to see that it is not lost; nurture it, and leave it as an inheritance,” he said. Faith was transmitted from one generation to the next, he said, “like a chain across time”.