Bishops celebrate National Migration Week, highlight overlooked ‘right to remain’


“Angels Unawares,” a work by Timothy Schmalz on The Catholic University of America’s campus, depicts 140 immigrants. / Credit: Peter Pinedo/CNA

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Sep 15, 2023 / 19:10 pm (CNA).

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is highlighting the overlooked right to remain in one’s country during its weeklong celebration of National Migration Week from Sept. 18–24.

“For millennia, people have been forced to flee their homelands, seeking safety and security, because of factors beyond their control,” El Paso Bishop Mark J. Seitz, the chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Migration, said in a statement ahead of the celebration.

Bishop Seitz referenced the Holy Family’s flight to Egypt, in which the child Christ, the Blessed Mother, and St. Joseph were forced to flee to Egypt when King Herod intended to kill Christ by slaughtering infants. He said the flight “was not the result of a free decision, nor were many of the migrations that marked the history of the people of Israel.”

National Migration Week encourages Catholics to reflect on challenges that affect migrants, refugees, and those harmed by forced displacement, according to the USCCB. The week is also meant to celebrate the ways in which newcomers enrich communities and how the faithful are called to welcome them as members of the same human family.

The celebration finishes on the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, which was established by the Holy See more than a century ago.

“Through our belief in Jesus Christ, we are compelled to respond with charity toward those who must uproot their lives in search of refuge, but efforts to manage migration — even when predicated on the common good — require that we also address the coercive forces driving people to migrate,” Seitz said.

“Only through collective efforts to alleviate these forces and by establishing the conditions required for integral human development can people truly avail themselves of the right to remain in their country of birth,” the bishop continued. “May God, through the [intercession] of Our Lady of Guadalupe, sustain us in these pursuits and protect those whose lives depend upon their success.”

The USCCB’s statement reflects the theme for this year’s World Day of Migrants and Refugees, which is “Free to choose whether to migrate or stay,” which Pope Francis announced in May.

“The decision to migrate should always be free, yet in many cases, even in our day, it is not,” Pope Francis said in his announcement. “Conflicts, natural disasters, or more simply the impossibility of living a dignified and prosperous life in one’s native land is forcing millions of persons to leave. … Migrants flee because of poverty, fear, or desperation. Eliminating these causes and thus putting an end to forced migration calls for shared commitment on the part of all, in accordance with the responsibilities of each.”

The USCCB said the right to remain in one’s natural homeland and not be forcefully displaced is a right that is often overlooked in the immigration debate in the United States.

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  1. Once again – the one word message goes out to ALL those who have been undergoing the long arduous process by which they might become LEGAL citizens of this country – SUCKERS

  2. Bishop Seitz and the USCCB issue a balanced statement on migration – addressing the moral obligation of advanced nations to invest in the development of Africa, the Middle East etc rather than exploit resources. Creation of environments in which otherwise potential migrants find suitable to live.
    What’s omitted is the illegal surge of migrants inundating areas of the US, and whole European nations, most who are antiChristian Muslims unwilling to adapt, or in the US a growing number of traffickers, children for sale, purveyors of drugs. That, a major moral problem that is actually given the veneer of charitable acceptance by His Holiness. This cannot be sidestepped by reference to what should be done insofar as development in the Third World. Our bishops require the moral courage to honestly address the facts. Nations have a right to protect their culture, and their religious and national identity.

  3. “The decision to migrate should always be free, yet in many cases, even in our day, it is not,” Pope Francis said in his announcement.”

    I think Pope Francis’ offer to accept all illegal immigrants to Vatican City State is a good idea! I think it would be very simple for Pope Francis to reestablish the Kingdom of God concept of Papal States. Why doesn’t Pope Francis simply, and safely, fly all refugees of the world into ‘Open Borders’, sovereign nation Vatican City State? I figure a two billion Christians tithe to Jesus, out of love for Jesus through the least of Jesus’ brothers and sisters, would be over a trillion dollars a year and would certainly be able to care for all the poor Lazerouses of the world today.

    Once the Sovereign Nation Vatican City State fills up with refugees in need, only then can we have the UN put sanctions on Colonialist Italy to give the Catholic Church back its Papal States (one third of Italy) land which Colonialist Italy brutally stole from the Catholic Church in 1870. Italy doesn’t even have any people to populate the land they stole from the Catholic Church back in 1870!

    By having Jesus care for all the poor Lazaruses of the world, through a reestablished Kingdom of God, Catholic Papal States, would be a light to the nations.

    LUKE 16:19 The Rich Man and Lazarus
    “There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day. And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. Dogs even used to come and lick his sores. When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, and from the netherworld, where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he cried out, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering torment in these flames.’ Abraham replied, ‘My child, remember that you received what was good during your lifetime while Lazarus likewise received what was bad; but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented. Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go from our side to yours or from your side to ours.’

  4. Migrants and refugees are worldbuilders. They arrive with skills, energies, patience, perseverance, and a never-say-die spirit. The arrival of the migrants is looked forward to by their distinguished hosts in the Global North, Global South, Global East, and Global West. People of goodwill in the Gulf countries, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Europe, the UK, US, Canada, and other countries look forward to welcoming migrants and making them partners and collaborators in the common task of worldbuilding.

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