Wealthy nations should “welcome” migrants and invest in more “integration” to allay the concerns of their citizens, a high ranking Vatican official has said.
Speaking to The Wall Street Journal at the Swiss ski resort of Davos, where more than 3,000 world political, economic, and social leaders have gathered for the World Economic Forum, Secretary of State for the Vatican Cardinal Pietro Parolin said the Pope’s view is that migrants should be accommodated in Western nations as they are merely striving for a better life.
“It is a big issue and not an easy one,” he conceded, adding: “We think – that is, the position of the Holy Father is that the attitude should be the attitude of welcoming [migrants] because they are escaping from a situation of violence, in which their life often is taken, of poverty, of misery, and they are looking for a better life. Everybody in the world has a right to look for a better life.”
Asked whether he was concerned about the possibility of a “populist backlash” against migrants, the Cardinal said that “of course” he was.
Governments should “take into consideration” the concerns of their citizens, he said, but he suggested they ought to respond to those concerns with firm plans for better integration between migrants and the local population.
“We cannot overlook [those concerns but] a better answer is integration. Which is a good word.
“We must take into consideration the fear of the people and answer [it] in the proper way, which is to have a clear vision for integration.”
He added that Vatican officials had also met with African leaders in recent days to discuss ways in which their own nations can be developed to provide opportunities for a better life for their people without the need to migrate.
The main theme of the Forum this year has been a focus on making globalisation work for everyone, in a bid to counter the “scary” rise of populism demonstrated first with Brexit and then the election of President Trump.
Cardinal Parolin was on message here, too, calling for what he called “globalisation with a human face”.
The Pope’s message, he said, continues to be that of welcoming a form of globalisation which offers “everybody, especially the poor and vulnerable, the possibility of a good life as human beings, and as sons and daughters of God”.