Pope on multiculturalism: “Migrants always bring riches”
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In a Q&A session Pope Francis told an audience of schoolchildren who had gathered in the Vatican that “migrants bring with them the wealth of a multicultural and multi-ethnic world”.
“Let us thank God for a multi-ethnic and multicultural society”, he said, “because dialogue among cultures, persons, and ethnicities is richness”.
“Multi ethnicity” and “multiculturalism” are the water of life which, unlike distilled water, is tasty and quenches thirst.”
“Migrants are not to be feared as if they were a plague. Migrants are not criminals, just as the mafia was not invented by the Nigerians.”
“The mafia is ours, made in Italy: it is ours”, the pope said, adding, “We all have the chance to be criminals.”
“Migrants are those who always bring us riches. Europe itself was made by migrants! The barbarians, the Celts…”, he continued.
“All these came from the north and brought their cultures with them. Europe grew in this way, with the contrast of cultures.”
“But today”, he lamented, “there is the temptation to a culture of walls, to raise walls, walls in the heart and on earth to prevent this encounter with other cultures, with other people.”
“And whoever raises a wall, whoever builds a wall”, he warned, “will end up as a slave inside the walls he has built, without horizons.”
“If I have a racist heart”, the pope urged, “I must examine myself why and convert.”
He urged that migrants be received, accompanied and integrated because by welcoming them one becomes richer and grows.
The Holy Father urged teachers to encourage the young to grow in the culture of encounter, able to meet different people and grow with differences.
He also lamented a growing culture of indifference in the western world. Calling indifference “a tyranny”, he said it is born of a relativism that considers “mine as mine” and leaves out every certainty.
Last, he warned that from this culture of indifference are born fundamentalism and the sectarian spirit.
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