Pope Francis Prays With Refugees in Rome

Pope Francis on Sunday urged the countries of the world not to use “fear of hostility” as an excuse to reject those seeking for refuge and protection.

Francis made the call during a special Mass he celebrated Sunday in St. Peter’s Basilica for invited migrants, refugees, asylum-seekers, newly-arrived immigrants and second-generation immigrant families.

He said while fear of migrants is “legitimate,” it’s a sin if that causes hostility.

The Catholic pontiff noted that some local communities fear new arrivals will disturb the established order.

He explained that while that is “comprehensible from a human point of view,” it is a sin if these fears “compromise respect and generosity” and “feed hostility and rejection” of those different from us.

In his almost five-year-old papacy, Francis has stressed Christianity’s mission, in following Jesus, to welcome vulnerable and marginalized people.

His focus comes as wealthier countries, including several European Union nations and the U.S., are intent on increasing physical or legal barriers to migrants.

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