Pope calls for softening up our attitudes towards immigrants; reflects on how creation is reminiscent of Christ’s resurrection.Pope Francis addressed two issues the world is facing right now, refugees and the destruction of the environment. The Pope’s Tuesday address was devoted to the issue of immigration, while on Wednesday he spoke entirely on the preservation of the environment.
On Tuesday, the Pope called on countries to take a softer stand on the issue of refugees. Known as a champion for the rights of refugees, the Pope was instrumental in making Europe more open towards taking in refugees. He denounced what he called “populist rhetoric,” referring to the tough stance countries are taking against immigrants. He condemned countries that have placed restrictions on immigration, saying that their policies are fueling selfishness and fear. Although he did not actually the name the U.S. in his address, his words would definitely chime well with activists and courts in the U.S. that have opposed Trump’s ban on seven Muslim-majority nations.
The populist rhetoric the Pope addressed is a movement that has made its way into European countries as well. Countries like France, Italy and the Netherlands have already toughened up their policies on taking in refugees. The Pope reminded these countries they have a moral duty towards refugees and even made a reference to the American “inalienable rights.”
On Wednesday, the Pope took on the issue of environment preservation. The Pope insisted that Christians must take care of nature as the hope of “Christ’s resurrection is in nature every day.” He spoke about how God has entrusted the protection of nature to mankind, who for selfish reasons has wreaked havoc and devastation on the environment.
— Saint Kateri Center (@SaintKateriCtr) February 23, 2017
The Pope told the pilgrims who had attended his general audience nature was a gift that God had given to mankind through which we could understand God’s love and get closer to him. However, just as human selfishness has made blind to all good things; it has made us blind to nature as well. The result of this sin is evident, “everything around us still bears the mark of our efforts, of our shortcomings.”
The Pope lamented that instead of cherishing creation and protecting it, we have subjected it to our selfishness, thereby ruining it. Francis also pointed out we have polluted even the most basic of necessities – water.
Pope Francis is perhaps the first Catholic Pontiff to have addressed the issue of environment conservation. In fact, he has even dedicated an entire encyclical to this issue – something radically different from what encyclicals have traditionally dealt with.