Catholics have obligation to aid, defend refugees

June 17, 2013

Catholic laity have an obligation to root out traces of xenophobia in their hearts and recognize refugees as their brothers and sisters – children of God whose dignity must be protected, said a new Vatican document.

Welcoming Christ in Refugees and Forcibly Displaced Persons, a document of pastoral guidelines for providing material and spiritual assistance to refugees was published June 6 by the Vatican.

Countries are focused more on deterring newcomers from reaching their shores than they are on offering protection and a welcome to suffering people fleeing situations that threatened their lives and dignity, said Cardinal Antonio Maria Veglio, president of the council for migrants and travelers.