Pope Francis: borders should be ‘windows,’ not barriers of division

Vatican City, Sep 10, 2020 / 08:30 am (CNA).- Pope Francis appealed Thursday for a fundamental change in the way the world sees migration.

In an address to supporters of a new project called Snapshots From The Borders Sept. 10, the pope said that it was “vital to change the way we see and talk about migration: it is about putting people, faces, stories at the center.”

He said that the “far-sighted” project, which aims to establish a network among cities at the borders of the European Union, was an example of the “culture of encounter which leads to a new humanism.”

“The inhabitants of the cities and frontier territories — the societies, communities, churches — are called to be the first actors in this turning point, thanks to the continuous opportunities of encounter that history offers them,” he said.

“Borders, long considered as barriers of division, can instead become ‘windows,’ spaces of mutual knowledge, of mutual enrichment, of communion in diversity; they can become places where models are experimented with to overcome the difficulties that the new arrivals bring for the indigenous communities.”

Snapshots From The Borders is a three-year project co-funded by the EU and run by 35 groups, including local authorities and civil society organizations. The project’s website says it aims to “contribute to a new European narrative” about migration, promoting “a more coherent human rights-based approach” to the issue.

The pope spoke to the group, who included the mayor of the Italian island of Lampedusa, two days after fire devastated Europe’s largest refugee camp, leaving 13,000 people without shelter.

He said: “Faced with these challenges, it seems clear that concrete solidarity and shared responsibility are indispensable, both at a national and international level.”

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  1. Of borders,barriers, and windows. The culture of encounter leads to a new humanism (Pope Francis). His predecessor focused on a Christian Humanism. Christ centered and cohered morally. John Paul understood that diverse ethnicity and culture are emblematic of the beautiful in God’s creation and worthy of retention. Whereas his successor perceives an encounter among peoples that removes barriers. And with it, that unique ethnic cultural identity? Which is more suitable? If encounter is achieved by willingness to relinquish barriers already evident to an extent in the European Union, requirement for a global unity extends beyond borders. Rather it requires to a significant degree relinquishing distinctive culture and social mores. For the success of Christian humanism in such a borderless global vision it means total conversion. Removing borders barriers and creating windows of itself is different in essence, and speaks to a political secularist rather than religious spiritual unity.

    • “a political secularist rather than religious spiritual unity”…

      Rick Steves, the friendly travel guide for Europe, says that different religions are no different than different restaurants. So, from cafeteria Catholicism to food market globalism; from stained glass windows to wall-less Walmart, and from human encounter to check-out counter; from cultural identity to kitchen-blender non-entity; and from Latin/etc. to Esperanto.

      About chatting over the back fence (a “barrier”?), Robert Frost proposed that: “good fences make good neighbors.”

  2. Blessed with a spirit of perseverance, migrants are ambassadors of the Good News. They arrive with skills, energies, and tons of good will to cooperate with their distinguished hosts in the project of a new world-building.

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