Socialist Pope Condemns ‘Populism’ as Driving Fear of Immigrants
Tuesday, Papa Francis called for a radical change of attitude towards immigrants, saying they should be welcomed with dignity and denouncing the “populist rhetoric” he said is fueling fear and selfishness in rich countries.
The Pope, who has championed the cause of migrants since taking office in 2013, did not single out any country for criticism, but it was clearly pointed at the UK, France, the Netherlands, Italy, Greece, and the US.
But his words may resonate most in the United States, where an executive order by President Donald Trump moved to suspend arrivals from 7 Muslim countries and deport all illegals, and in a Europe still struggling with a mass influx of more than 1.3-M mostly Muslim migrants and refugees since the start of Y 2015.
Immigrants should not be rejected out of hand as unworthy rivals but given a “responsible and dignified welcome,” particularly those fleeing war, the pontiff said in a lengthy address to participants of a conference on migration in Rome.
“Faced with this kind of rejection, rooted ultimately in self-centeredness and amplified by populist rhetoric, what is needed is a change of attitude, to overcome indifference and to counter fears with a generous approach of welcoming those who knock at our doors.”
Populist anti-immigrant parties have made gains in a number of European countries, including Italy, France and the Netherlands, where anti-Muslim politician Geert Wilders Saturday launched his campaign for next month’s election with a promise to crack down on “Moroccan Scum”.
“For those who flee conflicts and terrible persecutions, often trapped within the grip of criminal organizations who have no scruples, we need to open accessible and secure humanitarian channels,” the pope said.
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