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Pope Francis: “Doubts and fears” can “make us intolerant, closed and perhaps even racist”

“It is not just about migrants: it is also about our fears”. Pope Francis wrote this in his Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, released today. “Fear is legitimate”, Pope Francis argued, but “the problem is not that we have doubts and fears. The problem is when they condition our way of thinking and acting to the point of making us intolerant, closed and perhaps even – without realizing it – racist”. On the contrary, “the progress of our peoples… depends above all on our openness to being touched and moved by those who knock at our door. Their faces shatter and debunk all those false idols that can take over and enslave our lives; idols that promise an illusory and momentary happiness blind to the lives and sufferings of others”. “It is not just about migrants: it is about our humanity”, Pope Francis continued, referring once again to the example of the Good Samaritan and his compassion: “a feeling that cannot be explained on a purely rational level” but “strikes the most sensitive chords of our humanity, releasing a vibrant urge to ‘be a neighbour’ to all those whom we see in difficulty”. “Being compassionate means recognizing the suffering of the other and taking immediate action to soothe, heal and save”, Pope Francis remarked: “To be compassionate means to make room for that tenderness which today’s society so often asks us to repress”, in the awareness that “opening ourselves to others does not lead to impoverishment, but rather enrichment, because it enables us to be more human: to recognize ourselves as participants in a greater collectivity and to understand our life as a gift for others; to see as the goal, not our own interests, but rather the good of humanity”.

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