Business Day

Pope’s campaign to support migrants

- Philip Pullella Vatican City /Reuters

Pope Francis launched a global Roman Catholic campaign on Wednesday to improve the lot of immigrants, while Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila urged politician­s to “touch the hand of a migrant” before trying to stereotype them.

The two-year Share the Journey campaign comes at a time of growing anti-immigrant sentiment in the US and many European countries, where farright parties have made inroads.

Pope Francis, who has made the defence of migrants a major plank of his pontificat­e, launched the campaign in comments to thousands of people in St Peter’s Square for his weekly audience, urging Catholics around the world to be “open, inclusive and welcoming“.

Italy’s anti-immigrant Northern League has vowed to clamp down on migration from developing countries if it takes power in 2018’s elections.

At the Vatican, Tagle called for a “culture of personal encounter” where friendship supplanted fear. He urged politician­s “not to close the doors on people who might enrich your society”.

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