The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines decried the continuing discrimination of migrants and refugees around the world in a statement released on Sunday, September 28.
“The life of a migrant is not easy, and more difficult is that of the refugee,” read the statement of the Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People on the occasion of the Philippines’ 35th National Migrants’ Sunday.
“Biases and discrimination still exist, even among us who claim that we are Christian and we belong to the Catholic (“universal”) Church,” the bishops added.
“Somebody who is different (in color, race, creed, orientation and preference) has difficulty inserting into a community, much less find acceptance immediately. He is regarded with suspicion,” the statement added.
The statement, which was signed by Bishop Narciso Abellana of Romblon, head of the commission, said everyone is reminded to be “inclusive, not only in the use of language but, more importantly, in our human relationships.”
“Many times, we are afraid of diversity; however, diversity can enrich us. Thus, diversity should even be welcome,” added the statement.
This year’s observance of the National Migrants’ Sunday in the Philippines carried the theme “Towards an Ever Wider ‘We.’”
In the Vatican, Pope Francis led the observance of the 107th edition of the World Day of Migrants and Refugees.
Speaking at the Sunday Angelus, the pope said all people must “walk together, without prejudice and without fear, drawing near to the most vulnerable: migrants, refugees, displaced persons, victims of human trafficking, and the abandoned.”
He said everyone is called “to build a more inclusive world, which excludes no one.”
In a message released in May, Pope Francis also invited the Church and all people to journey “Towards An Ever Wider ‘We.’”
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