.- Before the thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square to pray the Angelus on the Sunday marking the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, Pope Benedict XVI said that migration must not be seen only as a problem, but also as a “resource for the progress of mankind.”
The Holy Father pointed to the Holy Family of Nazareth as example of the migrant family – especially in St. Matthew's account of their flight to escape the persecution of Herod. In their drama, he said, "we contemplate the painful condition of so many migrants, especially refugees, exiles, displaced people, and the persecuted. We particularly recognize the difficulties of migrant families: their discomforts, humiliations, privations and frailties."
The Pope went on to recall how the phenomenon of human mobility "is very extensive and varied," and that according to recent United Nations statistics, "economic migrants number almost 200 million, refugees nine million and international students two million."
To these must be added "internally displaced people and irregular migrants, taking into account the fact that each of them has, in one way or another, a family. It is, therefore, important to protect migrants and their families with specific legislative, juridical and administrative assistance, as well as through a network of services, welcome centers, and social and pastoral care structures."
The Pope expressed the hope that "a harmonious regulation of migratory flows and of human mobility in general" would soon be achieved, "so as to bring benefits to the entire human family, beginning with effective measures to favor legal migration and family reunion."
"Only respect for the human dignity of all migrants, on the one hand, and recognition by the migrants themselves of the values of their host societies, on the other, can make it possible to integrate families into the social, economic and political systems of their countries of destination."
"Migration," Pope Benedict concluded, "must never be seen only as a problem, but also and above all as a great resource for the progress of mankind. And the migrant family is a particularly special resource, so long as it is respected as such; it must not suffer irreparable divisions but remain united, or reunite, and complete its mission as the cradle of life and the primary place for welcoming and educating human beings."