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.