As the Council of European Bishops' Conferences opened the 8th Congress on Immigration in Malaga, the Spanish bishops remarked that immigration “is not a problem, a threat or an invasion, but rather an opportunity for the Church and for society.”
Citing comments by the director of the Secretariat of the Bishops’ Committee on Immigration, Jesuit Father Jose Luis Pinilla, the bishops called for a new perspective in response to the alarm caused by immigration.
Fr. Pinilla explained that immigration is “an opportunity” as it “improves the freedom and lives of people.” He then underscored the importance that the Church extend hospitality to welcome immigrants and lamented the tendency to “exclude and criminalize immigration.” The priest said that action is needed on a three-fold level: “in the countries of origin, in the transitional countries, and in destination countries.”
“We all lose when we adopt an exclusionary societal model.”
While the Church is carrying out important work in this area, Fr. Pinilla continued, “more could be done.”
The congress on immigration began Tuesday with a Mass celebrated by Bishop Jesus Esteban Catala of Malaga.